I love a risotto but they can take an age with all the stirring! This slow cooker recipe takes pretty much all the hard work out of making a risotto but is still packed full of flavour.
Over the past few years, like many people, I’ve been trying to do more to take meat out of our diet. My husband is a diehard meat lover though which makes creating veggie/vegan meals extra challenging. What’s brilliant about this recipe is that the mushrooms make it have an incredibly meaty feel to it.
It’s also a great hearty meal as we come to the end of Veganuary, bursting with all the yummy comfort food vibes.
Cheap and healthy
This mushroom risotto is also pretty healthy – it’s low in fat and calories (especially if you don’t put in my slightly cheeky slosh of wine!). There’s also relatively few ingredients. The original recipe that was given to me for this meal included porcini mushrooms which you tend to get dried in the UK and at the moment at least are HUGELY expensive (approximately £3.00 for 40g). To create a cheaper version I’ve swapped in fresh shiitake mushrooms (£1.75 for 125g) which brings the price of the meal down to a very tasty 76p per head.
Get your rice right!
One mistake I made recently was not using wholegrain rice. I really recommend you do use wholegrain because I used regular long-grain and whilst it was still very tasty, the rice was pretty mushy. I imagine you could cut down on the cooking time to compensate for different rice but then part of what works brilliantly about this dish is that it really has time to soak in all the flavours.
Timing is everything
It only takes three hours to cook in the slow cooker, which makes it even more economical from an energy saving point of view (15p for slow cooker). It means you can get it made before the school run and be sat down with something delicious and nutritious the same evening. It’s a bit trickier if you’re working it around a standard work day and possibly one to save for the weekend (in which case, definitely splosh the wine in!).
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1l vegetable stock
Dash of white wine (optional)
50g shiitake mushrooms
Half a tsp dried thyme
300g wholegrain rice
small bunch parsley, finely chopped
grated vegetarian (or vegan) parmesan-style cheese to serve
Chop everything first! One of my bug bears about recipes is the assumption that we all have sous chefs who have already chopped everything ahead of cooking. Again the nice thing with this recipe is that the chopping element is reasonably light…
Add the oil to the pan and fry the onions over a gentle heat until they are soft – for 5 – 10 minutes or so. Then add the sliced chestnut mushrooms to the pan and cook for a few minutes till the juices start to flow out of them. Pop them into your slow cooker.
Next make 1 litre of stock. I used two stock cubes, you can also use bouillon if you have it. Add the chopped shiitake mushrooms to the stock and leave to soak for a few minutes, along with the dried thyme.
Add the rice to the mushrooms and onions in the slow cooker and pour the stock, herbs and mushrooms over the top. Stir it all in together so everything is well mixed up.
Pop the lid on and cook on high for 3 hours, stirring half-way (you can’t completely escape stirring with a risotto!). The rice should be cooked and the consistency of the risotto not too runny or too dry. If the latter, add a little stock before stirring through the chopped parsley and serving with grated parmesan (or veggie or vegan alternative) and enjoy.
This recipe was created by Rebecca Megson-Smith. A writer, writing coach and feminist, fuelled by books, tea and time by the sea. You can find her on her website, Instagram @ridleywrites and lurking on Twitter @ridleywrites.