…and in third place – Mushroom and red wine risotto with seared flank steak

Red Wine Mushroom Risotto (15 of 16)THIRD PLACE! I don’t do third place when it comes to my cooking. When the weekend comes around in our house, I am master of the kitchen. I rule. What I say goes and everybody likes what I produce. Possibly because there is no competition but that is another story. But there was little I could do in this instance. Shockingly, the Wife and Stefan both conspired against me….

Stefan and Kees came to visit us here in Ireland. This was the return leg after our trip to Amsterdam, which I covered in The trip to Holland or “Hannibal Lecter ate my Dad”. Given the fantastic time we had over there, I thought I should pull out the stops and try to give the guys a good time. The Wife’s parents very generously donated their house in Tipperary for the weekend. En route to the shores of Lough Derg, we discussed possible menus. I, being the sly dog that I am, had the main course up my sleeve, with most of the ingredients either in the boot of the car or available in the Limerick Milk Market, where we planned to visit. I threw out an invitation to Stefan to rustle up a starter for the four of us. Stefan fell silent for most of the trip, his devious mind planning my culinary downfall. Little did I know that closer to home, the Wife was also plotting.

Up with the lark, I arranged breakfast and all the comforts one is expected to provide for overseas visitors before ferrying them to the famous Milk Market in Limerick City.

Stefan and Kees managed to have a chat with the only other Dutch person in Limerick City.

Stefan and Kees managed to have a chat with the only other Dutch person in Limerick City.

I then spent my morning carrying heavy bags, advising on cheese choice, the freshness of vegetables and the availability of various herbs.

An actions shot of vegetables. Pretty creative, is it not.

An actions shot of vegetables. Pretty creative, is it not?

My guests enjoyed some lovely Kerry lamb sandwiches from Peter Wood at Country Choice.

Peter impressed the visitors with the delicious Kerry Lamb. They won't get that in Amsterdam!

Peter impressed the visitors with the delicious Kerry Lamb. They won’t get that in Amsterdam!

A quick tour of Adare village and two supermarket stops for extra vital provisions rounded out my chauffeuring duties. My cheauffeurees were well rested and ready to cook their desired contributions to the evening’s entertainment. I was a physical wreck.

Stefan had decided to use only Irish ingredients in his truly fantastic starter. While he was efficiently preparing his contribution, I tried to get some of my own prep work done. No sooner had I a knife in my hand than the question “What about a pouring shot of the onion?” Given that they are guests in our economically challenged country, I put down my knife and dutifully took pouring shots. Not one, but dozens. Pouring onions, pouring cheese, pouring shellfish, even some pouring shellfish stock reduction. Not to forget the pouring parsley, pouring parsnips (I kid you not) and pouring creme fraiche! Stefan was relaxed and ready to serve on time. Before doing so, he muttered something about out-doing Richard McGary and bringing the pouring honours (not unlike the Ryder Cup) back to Europe.

The Wife who sort of guest posted her wonderful Mum’s Meringue Cake in her first appearance as cook here on the blog also had a propensity to require photography. Mercifully, there is not a lot of pouring involved in the production of the meringue cake. However, this was mostly needed before I could get a look at my own ingredients.

With the last of my energy draining away, I assembled my ingredients (forgetting the beef) and took my first photo.

That's a pot of stock with porcini mushrooms simmering on the side.

That’s a pot of stock with porcini mushrooms simmering on the side.

The ingredients;

  • 1 litre of good quality chicken stock
  • 300 gms of risotto rice
  • 6 Portobello mushrooms
  • 3 small onions
  • 25 gms of dried porcini mushrooms
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • A good handful of parsley
  • Parmesan cheese to taste and to serve
The flank steak looks pretty good and deserves a photo of it's own.

The flank steak looks pretty good and deserves a photo of it’s own.

I do need to give you a quick run through the process. Not because I haven’t done this before but because I took the photos and it would be a shame to waste them (particularly the pouring shots). First I brought the stock to a simmer and added the porcini. I forgot to take a photo because I was tired. Then I chopped the onions and Portobello mushrooms.

Most of the pouring shots taken, my chopped mushrooms and onions.

Most of the pouring shots taken, my chopped mushrooms and onions.

I put the onions on to sweat in some olive oil (I know how they feel) and fried the mushrooms in some oil and butter.

Onions sweating, Portobello mushrooms frying and stock and porcini simmering.

Onions sweating, Portobello mushrooms frying and stock and porcini simmering.

If you think I was going to restrict the pouring shots because of physical exhaustion, you are mistaken. Let’s kick things off with a stock shot.

We sieved the porcini in a colander and kitchen paper to keep the stock clear. Nice pour all the same.

We sieved the porcini in a colander and kitchen paper to keep the stock clear. Nice pour all the same.

We added the porcini to the Portobellos in the pan. Next we poured the Carnaroli rice.

The rice is added to the sweated mushrooms.

The rice is added to the sweated mushrooms.

Then I stirred the rice to absorb some of the oil and onion flavour before pouring in about a glass of fine Italian wine.

Excellent wine helps make excellent risotto.

Excellent wine helps make excellent risotto.

The slow and relaxed process of making the risotto commences with another pour.

Red Wine Mushroom Risotto

One of the many ladles of stock carefully added. You can’t hurry greatness.

The pouring, stirring and occasional tasting process takes anything from 20 to 40 minutes. With the rice approaching ‘al denté’, we poured in the mushrooms.

I was so tired at this stage, Stefan helped with the pouring.

I was so tired at this stage, Stefan helped with the pouring.

Next we grated some parmesan and stirred it in. Seasoning with salt and pepper, just before we poured in the chopped parsley.

Of course it is a parsley pouring shot. What else do you expect?

Of course it is a parsley pouring shot. What else do you expect?

Then we added some butter and left to rest.

I was pretty happy with this shot. I thought the risotto looked like a winner.

I was pretty happy with this shot. I thought the risotto looked like a winner.

While the risotto rested, we heated a cast iron griddle, added some salt and seared the lightly peppered steaks. This took only a couple of minutes in total.

Delicious 100% Irish beef flank steak on the griddle.

Delicious 100% Irish beef flank steak on the griddle.

All that was left to do at this stage was slice the steak thinly across the grain and serve on the risotto, sprinkled with a generous helping of parmesan.

The finished dish. It was lovely but, it could only manage a poor third place.

The finished dish. It was lovely but, it could only manage a poor third place.

With nothing left to pour, we served the main course. All agreed that Stefan’s starter was a winner. They agreed that the Wife’s meringue cake was a winner also. Finally, damming the risotto and flank steak with faint praise, they consented that my efforts were “very good”. They reassured me that it really was “very nice”. They even said “everything worked well together”.

I know third place when I see it.

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Latest comments
  • I never make risotto without adding wine, but only white. I’ve not tried red wine yet…. I always assumed the color would be off-putting but yours looks excellent.

    • I have been in the same camp until recently. The powerful red works well with the mushrooms. It is worth trying.

  • I’m with the above commenter. I’ve not seen red wine in risotto, but i guess it’s no “worse” than using a dark-colored beef stock in one. It looks absolutely beautiful. And I love the shots – amazed you can do all of this without a tripod!

    • You are too kind Mimi. The shots are all the more amazing given the pressure and sweat dripping into my eyes!

  • Look at it this way – you got a bronze medal – that ain’t so bad.

    • Right behind the first of the losers!

  • The entire meal looks amazing! From the mussels to the meringue. Your dish looks fabulous, and I can almost taste that risotto with those flavorful mushrooms! Yum!

    • Thanks Barb. You are far too kind to this culinary loser.

  • Given the choice between the three dishes….I’d just eat them all and then tell you all you were first and the best (but away from the others)

    • A pretty sound strategy, as long as we don’t talk to each other.

  • Love that you served steak with the risotto. That alone is a winner! Risotto makes me weak and I can not imagine a better one than this…porcini and portabella’s! You nailed it…again.

    • You are very good to try and salve my wounded pride. It’s still 3rd place.

      • Looks good Conor, and with the Wife’s meringue,and surroundings, its hard to understand how you could only be in 3rd place! Next time we see you lets have a rerun and we will give you OUR assessment. Don’t this little “set back” discourage you in any way.

        EFK.

        c

        • I would be delighted to cook it for you both as soon as possible. I reckon I can improve it….
          Best,
          Conor

  • Looks divine!

    • Thanks Lisa. I have to admit, it’s not bad for 3rd.

  • That steak looks incredible!

    • It was very tasty. The flank is a great cut. A bit chewy but very, very flavoursome.

  • But Conor, yours was the MAIN course: so how could you have been third 😉 ? The whole meal delightful and worth copying even if we do not have the Irish ingredients!! Bought a book about a decade ago on vegetarian risottos; there for the first time I found a mushroom risotto made with the aid of red Barolo wine ~ was strange to me too, but often use the red stuff these days – now it is strange to those who come as guests 😀 !!

    • Yes Eha, as is the squid ink version in a seafood one. All good fun.

      • Uhuh! Love that one too!

  • I’ve read this blog long enough to know that you’ve got a fierce (but respectable) competitive streak, so I get it. But why not spread the praise around call it a three-way tie? Besides, your “third place” dish is better than 99% of first place dishes on other, lesser tables. That red wine risotto looks top-notch in my book, as does the steak.

    • Tommy, comments like yours make coming third almost worth it. Almost…

  • Agree with “egg me on”. This was very nice indeed. You know how I feel about mixing up a primo piatto and a secondo piatto 🙂 I have made risotto with red wine before, but not in a mushroom risotto yet. I really like it and will use that next time.
    I should have taken photos of you fearlessly poaching eggs for breakfast — I was quite impressed with that but forgot to mention that in my post as I usually go by the photos to trigger my memory.

    • They were pretty good, if I say so myself. Fresh pullets eggs are easy to handle as they are so small and tend to hold together.

  • Damned with feint praise. How dare they! I like you risotto, Conor, and your mistake was not in your dish but in the guest list. Had I been there, you would have won easily, We in Chicago have a history of ballot stuffing. Explaining how 12 votes could have been cast would have been tricky but not impossible.

    • Very kind John. However, your terminology ‘like’ is a giveaway. What ever happened to “adore” or “am amazed by” or perhaps “instantly fell in love with”? I know the truth…

  • Blog friends? That’s so awesome.
    It looks like a meal of all winners. Right. Like that makes it any better. I hate third place. Nice flank steak and nice risotto too- really they both look delicious. I just don’t think I’m familiar with risotto and beef together. Maybe that’s all that threw things off. Heading to the meringue now. cheers… wt

    • When yo get there, you will know why I came third!

  • Great post and great looking main course. Looks like you had a wonderful time not to mention great food. With all of these pouring shots, Baby Lady really needs to up her effort. 🙂

    • We both know that she is the undisputed Queen of Pouring. It gives us something to aim at.

  • Looks wonderful. I have made this before and know it tastes great. I may have to make it again soon after seeing this as inspiration. Great pics!

    • Thanks Emily,
      You are too kind.
      Have a great holiday,
      Conor

  • Hahaaa… oh dear. Third place? I think not!! This looks absolutely divine, Conor. I think that I would be in a very happy state of satisfaction after eating this glorious meal. Mushrooms, red wine… what else could you want? Love it. Oh, and that carrot picture played havoc with my eyes… it was almost pulsating. There should be an epilepsy warning on this (or maybe it’s just me)

    • I was pretty pleased with the shot. However, it was the carrots and not the photographer that made the shot.

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