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The Postman Always Brings Rice: Mushroom and Herb Risotto

November 28, 2011

I am currently working on a paper on Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, which will be my 4th paper on hardboiled detective fiction thus far. So far, I’ve always focused on Hammett and on Raymond Chandler, but as a really irritating bookstore owner once told me “The Mount Rushmore of Detective Fiction is Hammett, Chandler and Cain.” (Perhaps he imagined himself as the fourth) So, today’s pun is from James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, which is a classic of the genre, but definitely not one of my favourites (frankly, I found the racism and misogyny in its opening chapters a bit unbearable). But, I definitely recommend downloading the film version of his novel Double Indemnity (which Chandler wrote the screenplay for, I might add).

And when curling up with some film noir, its always best to pair it with delicious food, like mushroom and herb risotto. This recipe makes about 4 servings. The prep can be a bit time consuming, as you have to stir the rice almost constantly for 15-20 minutes. But once you’ve made it, its really easy to reheat and enjoy for a few nights. It also sounds, looks and seems fancy, if you’re having guests. It’s quite rich, so you probably want to pair it with some fresh veggies. Though I eat with caesar salad sometimes because I’m a glutton.

  • 1 quart of stock (chicken or veggie)
  • olive oil
  • 3 finely chopped shallots or 1 medium onion
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped.
  • 14oz risotto (arborio) rice.
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 small handful of thyme
  • 1 handful of parsley roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  •  1 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • pinch of chili powder
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan (mine has a 12 inch diameter) and add the mushrooms, the thyme, half the garlic and half the parsley. Saute for a few minutes, then add a squeeze of lemon, a dash of chili powder and some ground pepper. When mushrooms are cooked, put mixture in a bowl and set aside. Leave the pan to cook your risotto in.
  2. Heat the stock in a pot. In the pan you’ve already used, heat the olive oil, add the shallot or onion, celery and a pinch of salt, and sweat the vegetables for about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, and turn the heat up. Stir constantly. You’re frying the rice now, so keep it moving until it turns slightly translucent (about 2 or 3 minutes). Add the wine. It will sizzle and smell yummy.
  4. Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add a ladle of hot stock and a pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a high-ish simmer. Stir around until rice has absorbed all the stock. Add half the mushroom mixture. Then add another ladle of stock and pinch of salt. Stir until absorbed. Continue adding stock, one ladleful at a time, and stirring until the rice is cooked (you want it soft but with a slight bite). You may need to use a little water in the end, if the stock isn’t quite enough.
  5. Add the rest of the mushroom mixture and the rest of the fresh parsley. Stir in 5 tablespoons of butter and the Parmesan.
  6. Garnish with any or all of: lemon, parmesan, parsley, black pepper.
3 Comments leave one →
  1. suzannawright permalink
    November 28, 2011 5:45 pm

    Yum, yum, yum!

  2. Hélène permalink
    November 28, 2011 8:44 pm

    This looks amazing!! I really want to try it, and maybe replace the parsley with cilantro. I just love cilantro so much…

  3. February 25, 2012 3:13 pm

    This was my favorite dish yet. Worth the work.

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