Day One of the pantry/freezer challenge: I'm trying to use up things in my overstocked freezer and pantry.
from the freezer:
1 quart of homemade chicken broth\, thawed
5 slices of roasted pork tenderloin, thawed
from the pantry
1 cup basmati rice
1 package dried morel mushrooms
three threads of saffron (totally optional -- I have it and never use it, which is stupid)
from the fridge
1 lonely green onion about to turn
1 cup cremini mushrooms, ditto
from the window sill
three leaves of basil
2 cloves garlic
from the wine rack
1/2 white wine, not counting what I sipped while stirring the risotto for 20 minutes
Lift the disk of chicken fat off the top of the broth and put it into a small bowl.
Rinse the dried mushrooms and soak them for 20 minutes in about 1 cup of the chicken stock. Drain, pouring the broth back into a saucepan with the rest of the broth. Heat the broth slowly over low heat.
Slice the cremini and morel mushrooms and the green onion (if you had more, or chives, sure).
Heat a large skillet (I used my indispensable cast iron chicken fryer, which has nice tall sides that help keep me from making a huge mess when I stir things) with about 2 T of the chicken fat. Or olive oil. Saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic and remove.
Put another tablespoon or two of the fat/oil in the skillet, on medium -- not too high! -- and add the rice. Stir very frequently but not constantly. The goal is to "toast" the rice slightly until the edges are translucent and slightly golden.
Add 1/2 cup white wine and continue to cook until it is absorbed.
Begin adding the heated broth 1/2 cup at a time. The pan should be just hot enough so that the broth simmers but doesn't boil. Toss in the saffron if you have it. Stir almost constantly, except when you are reaching for the wineglass. When the first dose of broth is absorbed, add another. Repeat, for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender but still "al dente" and not soggy.
Add the mushrooms and meat (optional) and heat through.
Chiffonade the basil and sprinkle on top.