As part of the ongoing Edible Utopia food-growing project, which looks at growing food in hidden parts of Somerset House, the site’s historic coal-holes have been transformed into fungi chambers, where mushrooms are grown using waste coffee grounds from on-site restaurants. To mark the evolution of this project, Mushrooms: the art, design and future of fungi, an exhibition celebrating the remarkable mushroom, and all the progressive, poetic and psychedelic wonder it evokes, opens this month.
In its honour, a new mushroom-centric menu has been introduced at Bryn Williams at Somerset House. To celebrate, we asked the chef to share one of his favourite mushroom recipes. This one is taken from his book Bryn’s Kitchen, published by Kyle Books. Bryn says: “Rich, creamy, just-cooked risotto marries so well with mushrooms and cheese – they were made to go together.”
- 1 litre mushroom stock or chicken stock, or a mixture of both
- 50g butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, peeled and ﬁnely chopped
- 200g risotto rice
- 100ml white wine salt and pepper
- 100g wild mushrooms, trimmed, washed, dried and quartered
- 50g Parmesan, ﬁnely grated, plus extra for serving
- 1–2 tbsp chopped ﬂat-leaf parsley
- Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Keep on a low heat within easy reach until needed.
- Now melt the butter with tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the chopped shallots and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until soft. Add the rice, stir well to coat it with the butter and shallot mixture, then cook for another minute. Pour in the white wine, stirring continuously until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Add a ladleful of the simmering stock to the rice, stirring all the time, and cook until the stock has been absorbed before adding another ladleful. Repeat until the rice is tender but retains a little bite – this should take about 20 minutes. When the risotto is ready, season with salt and pepper. Then remove from the heat, put on a lid, set aside and keep warm.
- Heat a heavy-based frying pan and, once it is hot, add the remaining olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, or until just soft. Spoon the mushrooms onto kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
- Stir the Parmesan and parsley into the risotto. Add the mushrooms, stirring them in gently. If the risotto feels a little ﬁrm, stir through some stock before serving. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan on top.
Somerset House, Strand, WC2R (020 7845 4646; bryn-somersethouse.co.uk)