Cooking is about unexpected encounters. During my training years I was fortunate to have many, including those with
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.
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.
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.
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.
A red Bordeaux, such as a Pomerol.
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