I love foraged foods. Mushrooms are one of those things that I can’t trust myself to do so I left this to the professionals and got some excellent results.
Be really careful if you decide to forage for yourself: poisonous mushrooms are everywhere and usually they don’t cause anything more serious than some heinous stomach upset but even that isn’t worth it. Morels have a very distinctive features: a hollow core, stem attached at the rim of the cap and a honeycombed cap surface.
Whether you forage yourself or not, clean your morels carefully. Because they’re hollow inside and intricate on the outside, it’s not uncommon for them to be gritty before washing and to harbor… surprises… inside. Slugs, spiders and other critters might be taking a nap, so be careful to cut each one open before cooking.
My next caveat about morels is that they need to be cooked thoroughly. They do contain compounds that can cause gastric upset if they’re not cooked well enough or you might have an unpleasant evening. That being said, some people are just sensitive to the compounds in morels, especially if they are trying them for the first time so consider using them sparingly and using conventional mushrooms for the bulk of the dish. I sauteed mine in some olive oil with a chopped onion, 4 minced cloves of garlic and after the morels started t reduce, I added a cup of frozen edamame, peas are a great alternative if you’ve got a soy allergy.
The risotto was prepared by putting a half cup of arborio rice into a saucepan along with a teaspoon of herbes de provence and a cup of white wine. I’m using chardonnay in this batch because I think the oak and vanilla flavors in the wine will bring out the earthy flavors in the morels.I added some whole Japanese hot red peppers to the broth I used to prepare the risotto. I combined a liter of water with a veggie bouillon cube and brought it to a boil. I added it one ladle at a time until I liked the texture. I fished the peppers out of the remaining broth and mixed in 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast and a tablespoon of Eat in the Raw vegan parmesan (omit this if you’re sensitive to nuts, it won’t affect the outcome of the dish significantly). This makes the risotto creamy and cheesy… like you’d expect comfort food to be… just without the fat and cholesterol.
When that was done, I stirred the veggies into the risotto including the fiddleheads, which I sauteed lightly along with the morels and the edamame.
This was delicious nutritious comfort food. Usually thost words don’t go together but when you’re vegan, they do.
Here is Brent… showing off his bowl. He’s also wearing a super-ultra-mega-awesome shirt with a unicorn, a rainbow, a castle and a waterfall on it. RECOGNIZE!
This is Brent and Christie, signing off!