Now, you’re going to have to trust me on this one. At first glance, this recipe will seem a little odd, but there’s some fantastic flavour pairing going on in this dish, and if you give it a try, you’ll fall a little bit in love.
Mushrooms and blueberries are actually a common pairing in parts of Europe, most notably Northern Italy. As the wonderful Niki Segnit tells us in the Flavour Thesaurus, “The fruit Flavour contrasts with the mushrooms’ meatiness. Blueberry and mushroom risotto, usually made with beef stock, is a…popular dish.”
The fruit should serve as an accent to the other flavours in this dish, so we don’t want to overuse the blueberries. The addition of a little more wine than usual sets off the sweetness nicely, and the spinach helps to bring a little more texture to the whole shebang. Of course, because we’re not using cheese, this is a little lighter than your average risotto but it’s still comfort food at its finest; perfect for a rainy evening.
1 cup mushrooms
2 tablespoons fresh thyme + a little more for reserve
2 cups arborio rice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups vegetable stock
1 cup shredded spinach
1 1/2 cups blueberries
salt and pepper
In a large pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat and then add in the onion and cook until they’re translucent
Add in the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring often
Add in the fresh thyme and arborio rice, and stir to ensure everything is coated in oil
Add in the dry white wine and stir well
Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid is absorbed by the rice
Add in 1/2 a cup of the veg stock, and cook again until most of the liquid is absorbed
Keep adding in 1/2 a cup of the veg stock until it is all gone, and the rice is done but still has a little “bite” in it
Remove the pan from the heat
Stir in the salt, pepper and a little more fresh thyme, and then very gently stir in the blueberries
Serve with a little garnish of fresh thyme, and if you have time, a blueberry reduction for the top; just simmer down the leftover blueberry juice when the last 1/2 cup of the stock is still left to go, then drizzle the thick reduction over the whole plate
This is a truly simple dish to make, and with few ingredients, but it will always impress.
Fresh thyme and dry wine are absolutely essential for this meal, but any cheap dry white will do; don’t go using your best sauvingon blanc when corner-store plonk will do!