Chanterelle Risotto with Truffle Butter

If you are like me, you start planning your Thanksgiving menu a month in advance. Chanterelle Risotto with Truffle Butter is a dish that I like to prepare around the holidays, because it is deliciously rich and decadent.  So I thought that I would post this recipe early to give you time to consider including it (or some variation) in your holiday planning. (In the U.S., Thanksgiving is one month from tomorrow – but no pressure!) Buon appetito! Image

Chanterelle Risotto with Truffle Butter

makes 6 first course servings

1 oz. dried Chanterelle mushrooms

hot water

1 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 c. Arborio rice

2 oz. dry white wine or Scotch*

3 c. chicken or vegetable broth

crushed hot red pepper**

2 slices cooked duck bacon, chopped (omit for a vegetarian risotto)

1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (loose, not packed down)

2 – 3 T. truffle butter

1. Wipe or rinse any grit off the Chanterelles. Place mushrooms in a small bowl, cover with hot water and soak for about 20 minutes. Reserving the liquid, strain the mushrooms. Strain the reserved liquid into the chicken or vegetable broth. Chop mushrooms. Set aside.

2. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 T. of the olive oil, then swirl oil around pan. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently until tender and almost translucent. Remove onion from skillet. Add the remaining 1 T.  olive oil and rice to skillet. Stirring frequently, cook until the rice is evenly coated with oil and starts to turn golden. Stir in the wine or Scotch. Allow the rice to cook until the liquid is almost entirely absorbed. Meanwhile, in a medium pan, heat broth until simmering. Cover and keep it at a simmer until you have finished cooking risotto.

3. Raise the temperature under the skillet to about medium-high. Add enough broth (about 1/2 c.)  to cover bottom of skillet. The skillet should be hot enough to allow the broth to keep simmering. Stir occasionally.  Continue the process of adding small amounts of broth and letting the rice absorb the broth.  When rice is about half-cooked, stir in mushrooms and onions. Continue adding broth and cooking rice, until the rice is almost cooked and the broth is almost absorbed. (If you run out of broth, simmer a little water to finish recipe.)

4. Shortly before rice is done cooking, sprinkle lightly with hot pepper, then stir in duck bacon.*** Add a hunk of truffle butter to risotto. Stir vigorously to melt and to distribute evenly. Stir in freshly grated Parmesan cheese until melted. Taste. Adjust seasonings (salt, pepper, cheese) if necessary. Serve immediately.


* Scotch is not traditionally used in making risottos, but the flavor blends well with the mushrooms and duck bacon and does not overwhelm the truffle butter. For a more traditional risotto, use white wine.

** How much pepper you should use depends on your pepper. I usually use crushed, dried Chenzo peppers from my garden,  which are very hot, and I only use about 1/8 t. You want to use enough so that there is just a faint heat to the flavor of the dish. Err on the side of adding too little pepper. You can always add more when you adjust the seasonings.

*** When the risotto is finished, the rice grains should be just somewhat tender but still distinct in shape and texture – and definitely not mushy. Recipes often call for risotto to be al dente, but I find that sometimes people undercook the rice in an effort not to overcook it. The rice should be creamy not crunchy. Keep in mind that for a short while, the rice will continue cooking from the heat of the risotto. Achieving the proper degree of doneness might take a little practice.  A finished risotto should be a bit loose and jiggly in consistency, but not runny or liquidy.

Onions, Sweet Onions

I’m not usually one to go into a swoon over onions; but they just looked so good at Farmers’ Market on Saturday that I came home with a bag full of little vidalias. Then I said to myself, “Bill hates onions … what on earth am I going to do with these?” The answer, I realized, could certainly be found in Ruth Spear’s The Classic Vegetable Cookbook – first published in 1985, and amazingly, still available. When I found Ruth’s recipe for Confiture d’Oignons, I knew that it would be wonderful.  However, I didn’t have any sherry vinegar in the house, so I substituted balsamic vinegar which I just love the flavor of.  This made my confiture much darker colored (a dark brown instead of amber) and stronger flavored than it would have been if I had followed her recipe exactly.  Also I added a small chenzo pepper when cooking the onions, just to add a little heat.

What does one do with onion marmalade? All kinds of things: serve it on crackers with cream cheese or chicken salad; serve on French bread; mix it into sour cream or Greek yogurt to make onion dip; serve with grilled portobello mushrooms; serve on top of meats in place of grilled onions; use to create gourmet burgers or sandwiches; add to sauces near the end of cooking; use in onion tarts; and, well, that’s all that I came up with for now. My husband ate about 6 Onion Marmalade Canapes before I told him what the topping was. Bill liked it! He liked it!  The next night we had it on bison cheeseburgers and he declared them outstanding. Yeah!  The onion dip with potato chips was really good too! (Photos below.)

Confiture d’Oignons (Onion Marmalade)

(makes about 1 pint)

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 lbs. sweet onions

1 small finely minced chili pepper

1 c. dry red wine

3/4 c. granulated white sugar

1/3 c. balsamic vinegar

pinch of salt (or to taste)

(1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

(2) Prepare onions. Cut the ends off and peel. Cut in half lengthwise, then thinly slice. Add olive oil to a large skillet and warm over medium-low heat. Add onions, separating the sections as they soften up, and cook until translucent and lightly golden. Do not brown onions.

(3) Meanwhile, make syrup. Add wine and sugar to a small stainless steel or enamel-lined pot. Stir. Bring to a full boil and cook until the wine is reduced to a syrup or reaches 230 degrees F. on a candy-thermometer. Stir in vinegar. Stir syrup into onions. Add pinch of salt.

(4) Finish cooking. Pour onion mixture into a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Bake for about 1 hour or until mixture reaches a thin jam-like consistency, stirring mixture about every 15 minutes. Be sure not to burn the onions. Pour into a clean glass jar, being careful not to splash marmalade on yourself. Close jar with a lid and allow to sit at room temperature until cool enough to refrigerate. Marmalade should keep for about 3 months in the refrigerator.

Onions at Saturday’s Farmers’ Market

Onion Marmalade Canapes

Onion Dip made with Sour Cream and Onion Marmalde

Bison Burger, Monterey Jack Cheese, Confiture d’Oignons