I look forward to driving to the country after the first rains of autumn. The wet soil, still warm from summer, bursts into life. Moss swells and returns to its verdant green colour, the air is sweet with the smell of wet earth and, under trees and in open fields, thousands of mushrooms erupt from the earth — pine mushrooms, slippery jacks and flavoursome field mushrooms.
This recipe was originally made with pork but we have removed the meat because good mushrooms have an earthy sweetness of their own. At home, I use wild mushrooms but for this recipe we have included mushrooms available from the market. Feel free to substitute with wild mushrooms that you know are safe to eat.
Add the mushrooms and thyme and fine sea salt. Mix through, cover, increase the heat to medium and continue cooking for 5–10 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and wilted and reduced to about one-quarter of their original volume. Add the tomato, gently mix through and cook for 5 minutes to soften.
Add the rice and stir it through the vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the rice just starts to become translucent. Pour in
From this point onwards, do not stir the rice, as a the socorat (crust) needs to form on the bottom of the cazuela. If the flame or element doesn’t cover the base of the cazuela, move the cazuela around during cooking to allow the rice to cook evenly.
After the rice has been boiling for 10 minutes mix the picada through the rice. Season to taste with salt, if necessary. Reduce the heat to low–medium and cook gently for another 10 minutes until the rice is cooked. Remove from the heat, cover with a clean tea towel (dish towel) and allow to rest for 10 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the grains have separated
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