In Season: The magic of mushrooms

Warm, comforting dishes are perfect on a cold winter evening.

Porcini risotto with fresh turmeric (photo credit: Boaz Lavi)
Porcini risotto with fresh turmeric
(photo credit: Boaz Lavi)
In recent years there has been a vast increase in the selection of fresh and dried mushroom available in the markets in Israel, most of which are either grown here or imported by Tekoa Farm. The farm also grows fresh ginger and turmeric root, as well as other exotic produce.
Here are a few recipes courtesy of Tekoa Farm and the Cantina restaurant in Tel Aviv.
✔ 1 liter fish stock ✔ 3 Tbsp. dark miso paste ✔ 25 gr. dried shiitake mushrooms ✔ 300 gr. sea fish fillet, skin and bones removed ✔ 100 gr. fresh shiitake mushrooms ✔ 1 bunch fresh asparagus
Wash mushrooms in cold water and remove the lower part of the stem. Slice very thinly. Remove lower part of asparagus stems and slice lengthwise as thinly as possible.
Cut fish into 3-cm. cubes. Place fish stock in a saucepan and simmer over low heat with dried shiitake mushrooms for 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms. Whisk in the miso paste, 1 Tbsp. at a time. Bring soup to boil, add mushrooms and fish and remove from heat immediately.
To serve: Pour into bowls and garnish with asparagus. Eat very hot.
Makes 4
✔ 800 gr. leg of lamb
✔ 350 gr. shallots
✔ 2 carrots
✔ 4 cloves garlic
✔ 3 celery stalks
 ✔ 500 gr. Tamar (plum) tomatoes
✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 1 liter chicken stock
✔ 100 gr. moist dried tomatoes
✔ Handful fresh oregano leaves
✔ Salt and pepper
Cut meat into 3-cm. cubes. Peel carrots and garlic and chop. Wash and chop celery. Blanch tomatoes, peel and chop. Peel shallots and leave whole and attached to the root (or use peeled shallots). Slice moist tomatoes into thin strips.
Heat oil in a heavy deep skillet and fry shallots whole. Remove and save.
Fry lamb until browned, season with salt and pepper. Add carrots, garlic and celery and stir-fry 5 more minutes. Add fresh tomatoes and stock and cook over medium heat 2 or more hours, until meat is tender. Add shallots and cook 20 more minutes.
To serve: Before serving, add moist tomato strips and oregano, mix and taste. Season to taste and serve with red wine.
Makes 4
 ✔ 100 gr. dried porcini mushrooms
✔ 4 cm. fresh root of turmeric
✔ 11⁄2 cups risotto rice; do not wash
✔ 5 shallots, peeled ✔ 100 gr. butter or margarine
✔ 1 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ Salt and white pepper
✔ Bunch parsley leaves, washed and chopped
Peel and chop fresh turmeric root. Place in a small pan with porcini mushrooms; add 600 ml. water and bring to a boil. Simmer a few minutes, strain. Keep hot water.
Chop shallots. Heat a shallow pan over high heat. Add butter or margarine, add oil and fry shallots. Season. As soon as the shallots are golden, add rice and heat through. Reduce heat and begin adding the hot porcini water gradually while mixing. Add a ladle of liquid at a time. After about 15 minutes, rice should be almost tender. Gently mix soaked porcini and turmeric into the risotto. Continue cooking and adding liquid if any is left until done. Do not overcook; risotto should be served al dente. Add remaining butter and chopped parsley, mix and serve in shallow bowls.