I adore porcini mushrooms. One thing I always wish I could have access to is a wider range of fresh exotic mushrooms. It’s pretty rare to come across fresh porcini mushrooms down here, so I make do with the dried ones – it’s one of my pantry staples, as you can always whip up a great pasta dish using them.
The other Sunday evening, we arrived home late and I had no idea what to cook for dinner. Hubby was busily feeding and playing with bubs while I stared woefully into the fridge and pantry, feeling quite uninspired. I knew I wanted to use porcini mushrooms, but wasn’t in the mood for pasta – finally, I pulled out a bag of bulghur wheat.
I don’t really like traditional risotto – generally, I’m not a fan of gluggy rice (although I do love congee/jook), and so I decided to try making a kind of risotto using the bulghur wheat instead. Of course, it didn’t turn out as creamy and rich as a normal risotto, but the runny yolk from the poached egg helped with that. I’ve made a risotto using barley before, and thought that this one turned out just as well. I’d be happy to make it again.
I bought the porcini powder from Farro, but it really is just ground up dried porcini mushroom. This is great for marinating meats in (it’s amazing on steak… with lots of butter… mmm…), or for adding to stews. If you don’t have any, you can just grind up some porcini mushrooms in a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Or you could just omit it – you will still have plenty of flavour from the not-ground-up porcini.
Bulghur ‘risotto’ with porcini and spinach
1 C bulghur wheat
2 C chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
50g baby spinach leaves
20g dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated
2 Tbsp porcini powder
3-4 Tbsp grated parmesan
extra virgin olive oil, to serve
Firstly, poach your eggs in water and set aside.
Put the butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic, porcini powder and rehydrated mushrooms. Fry gently for a couple of minutes.
Add the bulghur wheat, stirring to coat all the grains with the butter and oil. Add the stock, half a cup at a time, waiting until the liquid is all absorbed before adding more, and stirring the whole time. Once you have added all the stock and the bulghur wheat is cooked, stir in the parmesan. Then add the spinach and stir through until it wilts.
Divide the ‘risotto’ between three bowls, place a poached egg on top of each serving and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.