Mushrooms must be just about the only vegetable that has so many varieties nestled under that one umbrella name – chestnut, portobello, morel, chanterelle, ceps, shitake, oyster, enochi, and any number of other varieties, native or exotic, increasingly available. 

Mushrooms have been celebrated as powerfully nutritious for thousands of years, especially in far eastern cultures. What makes them so special is that although they are a vegetable, and contain all the nutrients commonly seen in fruit and veg, they also provide some that are more commonly found in meat, beans or grains, including those crucial to immunity and cell protection like selenium and vitamin D. Fabulous to ensure those nutrients are topped up in your diet, and an essential for vegetarians. As one of the best food sources of vitamin D, try to eat them daily, particularly during the darker months.

As a very low calorie food (around 11 calories per 100g) mushrooms are great for bulking up meals, with their ‘meaty’ texture and umami taste making them satisfying too. So, what about giving mushrooms a more starring role? Portobello mushrooms are big, meaty and rich, a perfect substitute for meat if you wanted to have a couple of meat-free days a week, roasted with garlic, fresh thyme and a drizzle of oil.

This recipe is pure comfort food for these cold, wintry evenings. Brrr = yum!! Light that fire, and snuggle up with a plateful of this….

Mushroom Risotto

rapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
250g oyster mushrooms (or mixed mushrooms of your choice) sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
100g chopped or sliced greens (eg. kale, spinach, broccoli, leeks, spring onions)
225g risotto rice
900 ml stock
4 tbsp creme fraiche
parmesan, if desired
seasoning to taste

Heat oil in a pan and add the onion, cooking until soft. Add the mushrooms, garlic and greens and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute, then season the mixture (go easy on the salt if using parmesan later)
Add 300 ml of the stock to the pan, and cook, stirring until absorbed. Add the rest of the stock in two more batches, stirring until absorbed and the rice has the desired bite and consistency. Stir in the creme fraiche. Serve, with parmesan shaved over the top if desired, and season to taste after the cheese has been added.