Tag Archives: comfort food

Mushroom, Bacon, & Leek Risotto

16 Sep

I don’t know what the weather’s been like in your neck of the woods, but it’s been chilly around these parts.  You won’t hear me complain about it, I absolutely love fall!  The colder temperatures make me crave comfort food like no other.  When Kristin over at Iowa Girl Eats posted this recipe, I literally counted down the days until it felt chilly enough to make it.  PLUS, risotto works as a lunch, side dish, or can also stand alone as an entree – that’s what I’m talking about!


Mushroom-Bacon-Leek-Risotto

Mushroom, Bacon, and Leek Risotto

  • 5 c. chicken stock
  • 4 sliced chopped bacon (I used a regular-cut, hickory smoked bacon)
  • 3 small leeks (white and green parts only), chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine (check this out for some advice on picking the best cooking wine)
  • 1 T. fresh thyme
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

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That picture has literally nothing to do with the recipe, but I felt all fancy putting the ingredients in different containers.

First, heat up the chicken stock but keep it simmering on low in a saucepan.  You won’t be using it until later, but make sure it’s ready when you need it.  Prep your bacon too, but chopping it and cooking it in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy.

Crumbled-Bacon

Set it aside to drain on a towel, but reserve 2 T. of the bacon grease.  If you don’t have 2 T. you will need to add in another fat like olive oil to make 2 T. and heat over medium-high along with the mushrooms, leeks, and shallots.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper and cook until the veggies turn a golden brown (about 8 minutes).  Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about another minute.  Finally, add in the 1 c. of arborio rice and give it a nice good stir to incorporate it in.

 

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Turn the heat down to medium and add in the 1/4 c. of wine. The rice will absorb the wine pretty quickly, and when it does you’re ready to add in that chicken broth.  This is the only part that sucks:  you’re going to have to stir this pretty much constantly for about 25 minutes.  That’s perfect for me because I love to fuss over things on the stove and I can never just leave things alone!

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After 25 minutes, the mixture will be looking nice and thick.  At this point, you should give yourself a pat on the back because you’re freaking awesome.  Then, add in the reserved bacon, thyme, and Parmesan cheese.  Stir it all together until it’s incorporated.  BOOM!  You just made risotto.

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Mushroom & Creamed Spinach Smothered Chicken

14 Mar

MSSChicken.Titled

So, I think this might be one of my new favorite meals.  I personally needed a break from clean eating, so this was a nice treat for me.

(This recipe was adapted from Bacon, Butter, Cheese & Garlic.)

Prep:  Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

I always start by chopping my veggies first and kind of setting them aside.  It’s less stressful and it obviously allows me to manage my time better.

Garlic1

Mushrooms2

Once the prep is done, I rinsed the chicken breasts, trimmed the fat, patted them dry, and seasoned BOTH sides with my seasonings of choice (get creative!).  Then, I put them in the pre-heated oven and set a timer for 25 minutes.

ChickenRub

The creamed spinach took about 10 minutes to make: sauteed onion & spinach mixed with creamed cheese and garlic.

CreamedSpinach1

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little with you perfect spinach to cheese ratio (I added a TON more spinach after taking this picture!).  I found that I needed a bag and a half of spinach per 4 pats of creamed cheese.  That way, I could use the creamed spinach to smother the chicken and have a little leftover as a side.

I love these Alouette garlic & herb pats of creamed cheese that I snagged a CostCo a while back.  They are a great full flavor alternative to regular cream cheese.

Alouettes

I use the exact same method to cook my mushrooms regardless of how I’m going to use them.  You can saute them in oil and butter (or both) until they are browned.  Deglazing is optional, but if you chose to do so you can use chicken stock or wine.  It basically just depends on your preference.

But, NEVER salt mushrooms until they are done cooking.  Salting mushrooms while they are cooking will result in shrunken, shriveled shrooms and nobody wants that.

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Then, I layered:

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Layer3

I added some salt to the mushrooms here and then topped with the cheese.

Layer4

I pulled it out when the meat thermometer hit 170ºF.

Finished

So friggin’ good.

SSMChicken.Plated2

Cauliflower, Potato & Cheese Bake

7 Nov

A few weeks ago, I made a Cauliflower, Potato & Cheese Bake that was a hit.  I just love when that happens.

Since then, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for the recipe.  This is the ultimate fall comfort food, easily sourced as SOLE food by even an inexperienced locavore.  I’ve tried a few variations since the original, but the original is surprisingly better.  I think I got a little too creative, trying to find the best cheese pairing.  Here is my best variation:

Cauliflower, Potato & Gouda Bake

Prep:  Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

1 1/2 lb. (6 med.) Yukon Golds, peeled & sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1 small head cauliflower, 1/2″ slices
1 1/2 c. (6-8oz) shredded Gouda – I bought mine from the Cheesemonger at the Market Square Farmer’s Market
1/3 c. chicken broth
1+T. butter
salt & pepper

Place the potato slices in a 10″ skillet, covering the potatoes with 2 inches of salted water.  Bring the potatoes to a boil, and add the cauliflower.  Rapidly simmer the vegetables, UNCOVERED, until the potatoes are just finished and the cauliflower is crisp-tender.  This takes around 10 minutes.

While the potatoes and cauli are cooking, butter a 1 1/2 qt. – 2 qt. baking dish.

Then, drain the potatoes and cauliflower in a colander and let cool for at least 5 minutes.  This helps the veg keep their shape and continue cooking just a little bit longer.

In the prepared baking dish, place half of the potato mixture and top with pepper and cheese.  Place another layer of potatoes, pepper, and cheese on top of that.  Pour 1/3 c. chicken broth over the top of the casserole, then place 4 pats of butter on top.  Trust me, don’t skip this step.

Then, bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly enough for you.

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