As fall is slowly giving way to winter we enjoy hiking in the forests and parks around Michigan’s Huron River, taking in the smells of damp wood, soil, and dry leaves. While we still see bright spots of yellow and red, most trees are bare now and it’s easier to see wildlife – we had a red-tailed hawk just a few yards away the other morning!
Smelling the sweet-forest freshness of wild chanterelles immediately brings all of this to mind and makes me happy 🙂 I’m teaching Ilian to use his sense of smell whenever I can; it’s amazing how much we can associate with just a whiff of something!
Chanterelles is one food I can’t resist when I see it in the store. So here’s a recipe that I find very rewarding for the relatively simple ingredients that go into it: a risotto with fall flavors and colors that’s easy to cook and can be prepared in stages so you don’t have to do it all during the dinner rush. Really the only work-intensive part is cleaning the chanterelles, and Wineforest Wild Foods has good guidelines. Your toddler will gladly help pouring, mixing, and tasting.
Fall Risotto with Chanterelles
- 3 red beets
- 1 cup red rice
- 3 yellow squash
- 1/2 lb frozen peas
- 1/4 to 1/2 lb chanterelles
- 3 whole cardamom pods
- 2 tsp dried marjoram
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 TBsp canola oil
- A few hours before cooking, clean chanterelles and let them dry.
- Red Beets: Peel and cube them, place in steamer basket in pot with about 2 1/2 cups water, cover, steam for 30-45 minutes on medium heat until beet cubes reach desired tenderness. Save water.
- Rice: Measure the water left over from steaming the beets and top up to 1 3/4 cups. Add red rice, 1 tsp salt, and cardamom pods, bring to a boil, cover, simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit 10 minutes, fluff rice with fork.
- Yellow Squash: Remove top and bottom, cut into small cubes. Place in baking dish, add marjoram, 1 TBsp canola oil, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
- Peas: Defrost peas in microwave or oven.
- Chanterelles: Break bigger chanterelles apart. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat until hot, add chanterelles and stir for a minute or two. This will help to evaporate some more water. Add 1 TBsp canola oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Stirring frequently, sautee for three to six minutes.
- Plate the rice. Add beets, squash, and peas. Top with chanterelles. Serve and enjoy!