Finding an Omajova mushroom is like finding a culinary diamond. Omajova mushrooms like additional flavours. The bacon and black garlic add additional umami flavour notes that complement the delicate Omajova. One could do this with any type of mushroom and ordinary garlic, but that would just not be the same. You could also make this dish in a potjie over an open fire. Just keep it low and slow.
Omajova Mushroom RisottoCourse: Main, Lunch, DinnerCuisine: Namibian, ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Omajova mushrooms are only available for a short period of time each year during the rainy season. This risotto makes the most of them.
8 tablespoons butter, divided into 2 equal portions
700 grams Omajova mushrooms
7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
120 grams bacon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup leek, finely chopped
1 ¼ cups arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
2 cloves black garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and fry until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
- Work in three batches. Add 1/3 of the diced Omajovas and 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan with the bacon drippings and sprinkle with salt. Sauté Omajovas until tender and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. When done, transfer the Omajovas to medium bowl. Repeat the process twice more by adding 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/3 of the Omajovas to the hot pan. Sprinkle the Omajovas with a pinch of salt each time as this helps to drain the water from the mushrooms. When all the mushrooms are fried in this manner, taste and season them with salt and pepper.
- Bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat, then turn down a heat but make sure the stock stays warm.
- Melt the remaining butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil. When the mixture is hot, add leek, sprinkle it with salt, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir until edges of rice begin to look translucent, another 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add white wine and stir until liquid is absorbed. It should take only a minute or two. Then start adding the warm stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring each time until almost all the stock is absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes. Continue by adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, each time stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more. After 10 to 12 minutes, the rice should be about halfway cooked.
- At this, the halfway point, stir in sautéed mushrooms and black garlic. Continue adding broth by 1/2 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy. This should take another 10 minutes. Add the crispy bacon and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve hot with additional Parmesan cheese on the side.