As the wheel turns, seasons change and time moves on. For me, autumn is a powerful time of transformation. To let go the radiant yang of summer leaves and berried fruits, beginning the slow inward journey to the quiet yin of winter. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, autumn is the time of the physical body and its boundaries; it governs skin, the lungs and the large intestine.
Breath is our constant physical connection to the outside world; it is absorbed through our lungs and through the large intestine we release what no longer serves us. The Lung and Large Intestine are about taking in and letting go, whilst at the same time keeping a strong healthy sense of self, a boundary of a healthy immune system so we can love the skin we are in.
With this in mind the following recipe is aimed at keeping the bacteria in the large intestine healthy and active.
Shitake Mushroom Risotto
All mushrooms are great at boosting the immune system and reducing fat and cholesterol levels in the blood. Shitake mushrooms especially are said to be “a source or interferon, a protein which appears to induce an immune response against cancer and viral diseases.”* Risotto if you haven’t cooked it before can seem daunting with the exactness of quantities and specific timing but I find if I prepare all the ingredients before and have them to hand it is really just a question of standing, stirring and adding.
- 60g butter
- 60g olive oil
- 300g Arborio rice
- 1 Medium onion, diced
- 10 Dried Shitake Mushrooms
- 200 ml Dashi broth
To make the Dashi broth soak the five shitake mushrooms for 30 mins in water from a recently boiled kettle. The Dashi broth and the vegetable stock, must be kept at a gentle simmer so as not to interrupt the cooking of the rice when adding
- 1200 ml Vegetable stock
- 120g parsley, chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 60g Parmesan, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
Melt half the butter and half the oil when they are hot add the onions and soften them on a medium heat for five minutes. Then add the garlic finely sliced shitake mushrooms and half the parsley, softly frying for another five minutes before adding the rice, stir it for a few minutes so that all the grains are coated with buttery juices. Now add the Dashi broth again stirring constantly until it has been absorbed by the rice. Do the same with stock adding a ladle full (approx 100ml) at a time. After 15-20 minutes the stock should have been completely absorbed leaving a creamy sauce in which the soft rice sits. Stir in the remaining butter, oil, parsley, parmesan and lemon juice. Perfect comfort food on an autumnal evening.