Haute-Lozère Porcini Risotto, Beef Jus

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Cooking is about unexpected encounters. During my training years I was fortunate to have many, including those with Michel Guérard, Roger Vergé, Gaston Lenôtre, and, above all, Alain Chapel. Later I met Paul Bocuse and other famous names, as well as unknowns throughout France and elsewhere. My chance meeting with Franck Cerutti, a passionate Mediterranean chef, was one of the most valuable. Franck had just returned from Florence, overflowing with the flavors of Italy, when he became my second in command at the Louis XV. The development of this risotto is largely his work.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Porcini

  • 12 porcini mushrooms, 1 ¾ oz (50 g) each
  • 2 cups (500 ml) duck fat
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled and crushed
  • 3 ½ tbsp (50 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ oz (40 g) dry-cured bacon
  • ½ tbsp (20 g) butter
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fleur de sel (sea salt crystals)

Parmesan Lace

  • 3 ½ oz (100 g) Parmesan, grated
  • 1 ½ tsp (10 g) all purpose flour

Risotto

  • 6 ½ tbsp (100 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¾ oz white onion, finely diced
  • 7 oz (200 g) Arborio rice
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
  • 4 cups (1 L) poultry fond blanc
  • 2 ¼ oz (60 g) Parmesan, grated
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) butter
  • 6 ½ tbsp (100 ml) beef jus

Method

Prepare and cook the porcini

Cut off the soil-coated tips of the porcini mushroom stems. Brush the porcini with a little warm water, then wipe dry with a paper towel. Trim the mushroom stems. Finely dice the trimmings* and set aside for use with the rice.

Finely slice 4 mushrooms and set aside.

Melt the duck fat in a pan large enough to hold the remaining mushrooms in an upright position. Add the thyme and 2 cloves of garlic. Stand the 8 remaining porcini mushrooms in the pan, touching each other, so they remain upright during cooking.

Do not wash the porcini mushrooms in water as their sponge-like texture easily soaks up moisture.

Cook the porcini gently for 30 minutes over low heat. Set aside for 10 minutes, off the heat. Remove carefully from the duck fat and place on a rack to drain.

Prepare the Parmesan lace

While the porcini are cooking, combine the Parmesan and flour.

Sprinkle this mixture into a pan and heat gently until the ingredients blend, forming a white, lace-like crust.

Prepare the risotto

Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Add the finely diced onion, the porcini trimmings and sweat*. Add the rice and continue cooking for 2 minutes, until translucent. Deglaze* with the white wine and reduce until dry.

Pour the hot fond blanc over the rice and cook for 18 minutes on medium heat, regularly adding the remaining fond blanc. Finish by binding* the rice with the grated Parmesan and the butter, then add a little olive oil to give the rice a glossy sheen.

The fond blanc must be hot when poured onto the rice. If not, the cooking time will increase.

Cut the cooked porcini into thick slices. Heat a sauté pan* containing a little olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and the bacon and brown. Add a little butter and the remaining cloves of garlic. Cook until the garlic is golden; season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Finish and presentation

Spoon the rice in small mounds onto flat plates. Do not press down on it.

Decorate with alternating slices of cooked and raw porcini. Spoon a little hot beef jus over each serving and top with a piece of Parmesan lace.

It is very important to stir the rice and fond blanc constantly while cooking: Stir three times in one direction and once in the other, then repeat. This movement helps the grains release their starch and the rice to cook evenly.

Drink Pairing

A red Bordeaux, such as a Pomerol.

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