Wednesday, October 20, 2010

brown rice with chanterelles and caramelized onions

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

My mother is a clever and resourceful woman, and that’s not a compliment – it’s a fact. Years of living in Russia trains you to be wired that way, and she is. I’m not sure how she does it, but no matter the season, mom is always prepared for the onslaught of visitors. Should anyone drop in unexpectedly, there is a slew of picked snacks (hello, Russian household), salads, Russian salamis and cheeses, not to mention various cookies, and chocolates, and fruit. Should you choose to show up at 2 o’clock at night, save for the some nasty glares, you’ll be sitting down to a full table in less than ten minutes. It’s that kind of Russian preparedness I have always admired.

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

When I was visiting last month, I volunteered to cook our dinner. I wanted to play with the light in my mother’s beautifully lit kitchen as my own kitchen, lovely as it may be, lacks natural light. I quite liked the soft, diffused daylight from the cloudy day – busying myself with apple sauce, chicken with mustard, and this dish. Earlier that afternoon, I had found a bag of frozen chanterelles in my mother’s freezer and I was curious. I have a soft spot for the yellow mushroom – growing up it was my favorite, and we ate it with abandon. It’s been more difficult, and costly, to find chanterelles in the US, but according to my mother, many Russian stores now carry bags of frozen chanterelles, which is a wonderful, and affordable compromise.

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

I decided to throw our old mushroom-chanterelle favorite combination together with some brown rice. We were under time constraints to eat before Yom Kippur started and I needed a quick and low-maintenance side dish. While the components were cooking, I prepared the chicken for roasting, and made a simple salad on the side. And then I curled up with a book in the living room, while our family cat decided to fall asleep at my feet, but not before kneading my soles with his. Sharp claws, is all I have to say on the matter. But the cuteness and the purring totally made up for it.

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles


Brown Rice with Chanterelles and Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:
2 cups brown rice
4 cups chanterelle mushrooms
2 onions, thinly sliced onions
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Preparation:

In a pot, over medium heat, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and cook rice according to the instructions. Usually, it’s about 20-25 minutes on a gentle simmer, covered, undisturbed. You can also use a rice cooker for this purpose.

In a saute pan, heat up some olive oil on medium heat and saute the chanterelles, until they reduce in volume by half – about 15 minutes. Empty into a bowl, and set aside.

In the same pan, heat up a little more oil over medium heat, and cook the onions, until they caramelize. You do this by slowly sweating the onions, then letting them get golden brown. When the onions start changing color, decrease heat to low, and cover the onions with a piece of parchment paper. Periodically, lift the paper to stir the onions. You may sprinkle a tiny bit of sugar and salt to aid the caramelization process. After about 40 minutes, your onions should be done. Throw the chanterelles in the for about a minute just to mix everything together and warm the mushrooms up, and then combine everything with rice in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

This also keeps very well and tastes better the next day. Though in my parents’ house, it was gone that very evening.

Serves 6 as a side, 4 as a vegan, gluten-free main dish.

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13 Comments

  • 1

    LOVE chanterelles. I rememeber picking them whatn I was little. Lisichki: such a cute name! I usually like mine sauteed with onions or shallots and served over boiled potatoes or polenta with sunflower oil from the Russian store.

    October 20, 2010 1:46 pm
  • 2

    Wow, I bet this is full of smoky deliciousness. I’ve never heard of covering onions with parchment paper while caramelizing–does it speed up the process?

    October 20, 2010 3:27 pm
  • 3

    I have never had chanterelles but this dish looks delicious. I love caramelized onions on just about anything and I generally love mushrooms so I’m sure this dish would be good. I was thinking about putting this together with steak. I like cooking my steaks sometimes with the “side dishes” but use them more as a garnish of the steak rather than a side dish.

    October 20, 2010 3:32 pm
  • 4
    Radish said:

    Chowgirl – it sort of keeps the moisture in, and things have a lesser tendency to burn/dry out.

    October 20, 2010 3:32 pm
  • 5
    Christine said:

    Now I have to harass my Russian coworker regarding the location of the nearest Russian market. Chanterelles…yum!

    In the meantime, you are advised that we currently have a chicken braising in milk in my oven, with some potatoes roasting in a skillet with the extra delicious fat. Thank you! and thank you Jamie Oliver!

    October 20, 2010 6:18 pm
  • 6

    I can’t believe how long I’ve been waiting over this post! And you’re right- the photos are absolutely lovely!!! And the dish- comfort in a bowl. Lovely post, Olga! :)

    October 20, 2010 8:33 pm
  • 7
    molly said:

    MMMMMM, chanterelles, I adore them any way. But with caramelized onion and brown rice, well, knock my socks right off.

    October 20, 2010 8:55 pm
  • 8
    Dana said:

    That looks just too tasty. I don’t know if I could wait until the next day…

    October 21, 2010 12:53 am
  • 9

    Yum! I have never seen frozen chanterelles. I will have tto look for them!

    October 21, 2010 11:08 am
  • 10

    This looks great, and I love the use of chanterelles here. Great photo as well!

    October 21, 2010 11:48 am
  • 11
    Carol said:

    Are the frozen mushrooms dried first, then frozen, or just frozen fresh? Sounds like they keep well in the freezer, how long do you think is okay…a few weeks, 6 mos, 1 year?

    October 21, 2010 12:01 pm
  • 12
    Radish said:

    Carol – looks like they’re washed, dried (i.e. water removed) and then frozen. They’re fresh frozen, that is. I would think that they might keep a few months. I think that mushrooms, being mostly water, develop that been-in-freezer-too-long taste after a longer time. Hope this helps.

    October 21, 2010 12:48 pm
  • 13
    Dawnell444 said:

    Thanks Radish!
    I have been fortunate enough to have located the holy grail of chantrelle’s here in the NorthWest part of the state of Washington and have picked approximatley 70 lbs in 3 pickings in the past week! Im not kidding! Ive had so much fun sharing the golden goodness with anyone who expresses an interest in them!
    I am heading up to make this recipe this very second and appreciate it tremendously! Thank you- it is exactly what I was looking for to take as a side dish to a friends home!

    November 13, 2010 7:01 pm

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