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X-Planations: Chef Peter X. Kelly Muses On Mushrooms

Peter's brother, Ned Kelly, holding a locally sourced chicken mushroom.
Peter's brother, Ned Kelly, holding a locally sourced chicken mushroom. Photo Credit: Submitted

YONKERS, N.Y. -- One of the great things about living in the Hudson Valley, particularly in autumn, is the abundance of foraged wild mushrooms.

I am very lucky to know several mushroom hunters that bring me their finds on a regular basis.

This past weekend, in fact,  I was delivered two chicken mushrooms found in the Nyack / Piermont area that each weighed about 10 pounds.The chicken mushroom or Laetiporus Sulfureus L. Cincinnatus is pale yellow in color and should be very firm in texture.

The mushroom has a very delicate earthy flavor and takes very well to many preparations. You can use the chicken mushroom by substituting it in nearly any of your favorite recipes that would normally call for actual chicken, and turn your family meal in to a vegetable-based dinner everyone will love.

You can also use this mushroom as a base for your favorite soup or cut it small and cook with a little sherry and garlic to top fresh made risotto.

Here's a recipe that would take very well to a topping of sautéed mushrooms, preferably locally sourced.

Risotto with Chicken Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs chicken mushrooms cut in small pieces (you may substitute any wild mushroom)
  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup Sherry
  • 6 cups chicken Stock
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbs Butter
  • 9 ounces Arborio Rice
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 Tbs fresh Sage, chopped

Procedure:

• Over medium heat melt butter and sweat shallot.

• Add cut mushrooms to shallot and cook.

• Add sherry to mushrooms and cook till softened about four minutes.

• Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

• Bring six cups of chicken stock to a simmer.

• Melt one tablespoon of butter in four-quart heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook till softened but not colored. About three minutes.

• Add rice and stir with a wooden spoon till rice turns opaque (about two minutes).

• Add white wine and stir till wine is absorbed.

• Begin adding stock to rice, one cup at a time stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before the next addition until the rice is very creamy looking but still al dente (you will have left over stock).

• Add cooked mushrooms, two tablespoons butter, cheese and sage and stir to combine.

• If necessary add a little more stock to thin risotto.

• Serve immediately.

This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.

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