*Touch wood* I’ve not had a risotto failure yet. My first and successful attempt at risotto wasn’t a “full” risotto (My Mushroom, Quinoa & Thyme Risotto) and so I’ve been looking around for a risotto recipe to test out my skills. I was flipping through my copy of Katie Quinn Davies’ What Katie Ate when I happened upon this recipe for Mushroom and Bacon Risotto with Poached Egg, and I was immediately besotted. Mushrooms and bacon, how can you go wrong?I also had all of these ingredients on-hand at home already, aside from the cavolo nero, but I used a bag of pre-washed baby spinach leaves instead, which did just as well in my opinion. This recipe uses the “whirlpool” method of poaching eggs, which surprisingly worked and saved me from all the technical hocus-pocus that I learned from the man who is an expert in that sort of thing, Heston Blumenthal.
The recipe portion serves four, however when I halved the recipe I still found it gave me four servings. But at the moment I’ve been cutting down on my serving size for health reasons and so this may be anywhere between two and four portions for you.
You will need:
- 625ml chicken stock;
- 2 tablespoons olive oil;
- 100g Swiss Brown mushrooms, cleaned and sliced;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;
- One bag pre-washed baby spinach leaves;
- 30g butter;
- 125g bacon, fat and rind removed, finely diced;
- 1/2 brown onion, chopped finely;
- 150g arborio rice;
- 50ml white wine;
- 2-3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked;
- 50g shaved parmesan, plus extra to serve;
- 2 large eggs;
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
Pour the chicken stock into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to very low, then cover and keep the stock warm until needed.
Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan, add the mushrooms and season with a little salt. Cook over a medium heat for five minutes, stirring frequently. Add about a teaspoon of butter, let it melt, then toss the mushrooms in the butter to coat, before removing them from the pan and setting them aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pan, add the bacon and fry over a medium heat for five minutes until almost cooked through and slightly crispy. Put bacon with the mushrooms on the side.
Add the onion and remaining butter and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the rice and stir to coat well in the butter.
Pour in the wine and simmer, stirring, until the liquid has reduced a little. Add back the bacon and the thyme leaves.
Add a ladleful of warm stock to the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it has been completely absorbed. Continue adding the stock in this way until there is only one ladleful of stock left in the pan.
Add the mushrooms, spinach and the remaining stock. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. By now, the risotto should have a beautifully, creamy consistency. When the last of the stock has been absorbed, stir in the grated Parmesan, then cover and keep warm while you poach the eggs.
Crack one egg into a shallow cup. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with cold water, place over a medium heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat so the water is just simmering. Add the white vinegar to the water. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, stir the water in the centre quickly to create a mini vortex, then quickly tip in the egg (I know this photo may look a little…strange).
Once the egg starts to take shape, nudge it over to one side with a slotted spoon. Swirl a little vortex in the water to the left or right of the first egg and drop in a second egg. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the whites are cooked, then remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
To serve, spoon the risotto into bowls, top with a poached egg and finish with a scattering of shaved Parmesan.
While probably not the most beautifully-plated dish, you can’t deny that this dish is incredibly tasty. And that egg, maaaan…