Another reason to make far more risotto than you need on any given night: so you can have a stellar dinner the next night too. Like arancini, this recipe relies on slightly dry, day-old and sticky risotto that will cooperate when you try to roll a small bit of it together in your hands. It takes a little time to steam and assemble these chard bundles which is why I save these for a night where I have people around the table that deserved to be spoiled. Which is everyone you ever have around your table, isn’t it…so never mind the effort, don’t wait.
Risotto-Stuffed Chard Bundles with Browned Butter Oyster Mushrooms
This recipe works best using day-old risotto that’s been allowed to come to room temperature. I like using this saffron risotto for it’s subtle taste which works perfectly with the butter and mushrooms in this recipe, but this black risotto would be stunning too. You’ll need about half of the recipe (but make all of it so you can enjoy the other half hot and fresh, of course!)
*Make the risotto ahead, allow it to cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. Then remove from fridge about 2 hours before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. The chard leaves can also be steamed ahead, patted dried and refrigerated, then brought to room temperature before proceeding.
**These also make a great vegetarian main dish for a dinner party. If that’s your intention, factor about 3 bundles per person, with sides.
12 large, whole chard leaves only, (reserve the stems for another use)*
2 1/2 c room-temperature saffron risotto, or similarly mild-flavoured risotto (roughly 1/2 of this saffron risotto recipe), ideally day-old*
1/4 c unsalted butter, divided
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 large clusters of oyster mushrooms, stalks sliced, large fans torn lengthwise
Steam the chard leaves until pliable and vibrant green, about 3-5 minutes. Cool, lay them out carefully on a clean kitchen towel, pat dry and allow to air-dry for a few minutes—they will still remain damp, which is fine.
Gently lay a chard leaf out on a cutting board and cut out and discard the stem/centre vein up to the part that is soft enough to bend completely. With slightly oiled or wet hands, form a scant 1/4 cup of risotto into a tight little bar. Place in the centre of the leaf and wrap tightly into a package, folding the bottom pieces (where the stem was) over first, and then the sides. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Bundles can be made an hour or two before and kept at room temperature.
About half an hour before you wish to serve, heat 2 tbs of the butter and 1 tbs of the oil in wide skillet. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and sauté until both the butter and mushrooms start to turn a golden brown. Transfer the mushrooms and butter to a bowl and cover or keep warm in a low oven. Add remaining butter and oil to the skillet, season with salt and mix well to distribute and dissolve. When hot, add the chard bundles in a single layer (work in batches if necessary) and cook on one side until they start to turn golden and just slightly crisp in spots. Turn and repeat on all sides.
Transfer to serving plate, top with reserved mushrooms and butter and serve hot.
Serves 4-6 (12 bundles).**
This story and recipe appear in A MENU FOR ENTERTAINING, Issue 024 of Le Sauce Magazine.