18 April 2012

Buckwheat risotto with mushrooms

Another one of my (and Sophie's) staples. Best made in autumn when there's a wide range of different mushrooms available but it works just as well in spring when one is limited to brown caps and oyster mushrooms.
It isn't really a risotto as neither rice nor endless stirring and slow bit-by-bit adding of stock and wine are involved. However, the taste and consistency are very reminiscent of risotto so it seems a good name. But, as Sophie says, if you really disagree, you can always give it a new title.

No matter what you call it, it IS fantastic. Mushy, but still a bit chewy, the buckwheat and the mushrooms make for a hearty and healthy base while the white a little note of sophistication from the white wine. Perfect combination of elegance, gourmet, and nursery food. Yum. I could eat this by the bucket. 

A little note on the grain: Buckwheat is one of those magical grains I was completely unaware of until a few years ago when I started looking for alternatives for wheat, spelt and rice. The grains have a very funny sort of triangular pyramid shape and the colour varies somewhere between slight pink, green, beige and brown. They have a very distinct nutty flavour and work for porridge-like breakfast dishes as well as for savoury suppers like this one. You can also use buckwheat for salads and soups, and buckwheat flour is brilliant for pancakes or quiches.

Buckwheat risotto with mushrooms
(Recipe by Sophie Dahl, with a few modifications by me, as always)

Serves 1 with a bit left over for late night cravings

150 g/1 cup buckwheat
About 500 ml/2 cups vegetable stock
125 g/1 cup mushrooms (porcini are best but also quite expensive)
1 small red onion or shallot
2 Tbsp cream cheese
White wine
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a medium pot, bring the vegetable stock to the boil. When boiling, add the buckwheat and cook on low to medium heat until tender (about 30-40 minutes, maybe even less). Drain the buckwheat (if there's any fluid left) and put aside.

Finely dice the onion. Clean the mushrooms, halve or quarter the larger ones, leave the small ones whole.

In a large frying pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the onions until translucent, then add the mushrooms and a good glug of white wine. Fry for some 5-6 minutes, then take the mushrooms out of the pan and put aside (preferably somewhere they won't cool. A pre-warmed bowl covered with a plate will do). Leave the nice mushroom juice in the pan, add the cream cheese, the buckwheat and some more white wine. Cook on low for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Season to taste.

Serve with the mushrooms on top. Sometimes when I make this just for myself and not for guests (or a blog post, for that matter), I just leave the mushrooms in the pan and mix them with the buckwheat. Makes for a much less aesthetically pleasing result but tastes just as good and leaves you with fewer dirty dishes.


  1. Yum! First time ever to try buckwheat like this, and I think I'm sold! Very tasty. Made this with chanterelles and green asparagus (because that was what I had in my fridge) and it turned out pretty well, even though my execution of the recipe wasn't perfect.
    Thanks for the inspiration! ^.^