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Virtual Potluck: Herbed Risotto with Spicy Mushroom Gravy

Risotto with Mushroom Gravy

So I've been working on some things behind the scenes, one of which is a blogger group I am now a part of called Virtual Potluck.  Basically we are a group of 12 bloggers that work on projects together and support each other along the way.  Our food blogs come in all shapes and sizes and during the brief time we've been working together, we have learned so many things from each other.

You can find the Virtual Potluck Facebook page here.  If you "Like" the page, you'll be able to follow all the VP bloggers during this project as well as future projects and we have a lot of fun stuff already planned!  

Virtual Potluck

I'm really excited to bring to you our newest project with Marx Foods, who challenged us to develop original recipes using some of their food products.  Marx Foods has this fabulous website where you can order practically any ingredient you can think of from meats, poultry, and seafood, to pantry items such as dried mushrooms and chili peppers, to fresh produce they'll actually overnight to you so it's fresh when you receive it.  Take some time to peruse their website; it is beautiful and very interactive.  Not only do they describe every single ingredient, but they also give you tips on how to use the ingredient in your cooking, including recipes.  I could spend hours on this website.  If you're looking for an exotic ingredient that you can't seem to find at your local market or if you live in an area where you can't get a lot of good quality ingredients, this website will be a lifesaver for you!


Click on the Marx Foods logo above to visit their site.  Enter “POTLUCK” into the “Coupon Code” field at checkout for 10% of everything in the store. Valid 11/21 – 11/27.

The concept of this project was for us to imagine we were all invited to a Thanksgiving dinner and were asked to bring a dish.  In the mail, we all received some ingredients to use in our dishes.  We could use all, some, or one of the ingredients to create an original dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.  Be sure to check out the other 11 Virtual Potluck bloggers' dishes - you'll find links to all of their blogs in the right side bar listed under Virtual Potluck.  But first, let me introduce to you the host of our Marx Foods Thanksgiving dinner, Donna at Cookistry.  Donna has graciously put together a nice roundup of all of our posts for this event to make it easy for you to peruse everyone's Thanksgiving offerings.  So sit down at our Thanksgiving table, enjoy our dishes, and let us know what you think!  Oh, and stick around until the end because I'll tell you how you can win a couple of Marx Foods samples so you can create some dishes of your own!

For my dish, I decided to use the following ingredients:

Dried Wild Porcini Mushrooms

Dried Lobster Mushrooms

Dried Japones Chilies

Italian Vialone Nano Rice


After the jump, find out what I did with these ingredients.

So when I saw the rice, I immediately thought "risotto!"  Over the years I've gotten pretty good at risotto, so I was comfortable creating a risotto recipe.  So I started brainstorming and decided I didn't just want to make a spicy mushroom risotto...  I wanted to make a rich, spicy mushroom gravy to lovingly ladle over top a creamy herbed risotto.  I wanted to make something I would order if I was out to dinner and this is definitely it.  I have to say, I'm really proud of how this turned out and if you're a mushroom fan, I highly suggest you make this dish.  I know you'll love it.  It's warm, comforting, and it's got a nice spicy kick from the chili pepper and the horseradish sour cream.   It takes a while to develop an original recipe from scratch and well, it tends to do this to your kitchen...  as I thought of ingredients for the recipe, I just set them out on the counter.  It turned out to be a pretty good way to visualize what I wanted to do. 


I started by submerging the chilies in boiling water.  When I made this recipe, I used two chilies, but it turned out pretty darn spicy.  If you like a lot of heat, go ahead and use two, but I changed the recipe to one chili pepper as I think this will still deliver a nice heat, but not overpowering for most people. 


I also submerged both kinds of dried mushrooms into boiling water in a separate bowl.  Once the mushrooms are soft, they are ready to use.  Be sure to reserve the mushroom liquid as you will use some of it in this recipe to heighten the mushroom flavor.


Remove the mushrooms from the liquid, reserving the mushroom liquid. Squeeze out the liquid from the mushrooms, chop them up, and throw them into a pan with the olive oil. Saute the mushrooms for a few minutes, seasoning them with sea salt, black pepper, sage, and thyme.


Seed and mince the chili pepper and add it to the mushrooms. Also add the chopped onion and saute for a few more minutes. Add the garlic and butter and stir until the butter melts completely.


Then add the flour and stir for a couple minutes until the flour turns a golden brown.


Add the sherry vinegar and 4 tablespoons of the reserved mushroom liquid.


Cook a few minutes longer, then add the beef broth and the brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, whisking the entire time.


Allow the mushroom gravy to simmer, whisking periodically, until it reduces enough where it coats the back of a spoon. Set the gravy aside.


In a large saucepan, heat the chicken broth over medium-low heat so it’s hot and ready to go for the risotto.
In another larger pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the rice. Saute the rice for a few minutes until the rice slightly toasts.

Add 1 ladle of the hot chicken broth to the rice and stir with a wooden spoon.


Next, add the Herbs de Provence, salt, and garlic and stir. As the rice soaks up the liquid, add more of the hot chicken stock, one ladle at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon.




Once the rice has a soft, but al dente texture and you’ve used most or all of the chicken stock, it’s time to stir in the Parmesan cheese and turn off the heat. The risotto should be silky and creamy.


To make the horseradish sour cream, just combine the sour cream, mayo, and horseradish in a bowl. Taste and make sure it’s spicy enough and add more horseradish if you’d like.

Transfer the risotto into a serving dish. Heat the mushroom gravy over low heat and once it’s hot, ladle the gravy over the risotto. Top the dish with a dollop of the horseradish sour cream and garnish with fresh parsley.

Finish the risotto with ½ cup parmesan cheese. Top with the mushroom gravy and a dollop of the horseradish sour cream and fresh parsley for garnish.

I've got a sample of Madagascar Vanilla Beans and a sample of Dried Puya Chilies and they can both be yours!

Here's how to enter:
  • Contest will run from Monday, November 21, 2011 through Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 5:00pm EST.  The winner will be randomly chosen from the comments on this post at that time. 
  • To be eligible for this prize, you must attach an email address to your comment or mention your Twitter handle in your comment so I can easily get in touch with you should you be chosen as the winner.  This contest is open to US Residents Only.  

To earn entries to this contest, do the following:
  • Leave a comment on this post telling me why you'd like to win the vanilla beans and chili peppers
For additional entries (MAKE SURE to leave an extra comment for each of they won't count!):
  • Visit Cookistry and leave a comment on the Marx Foods Thanksgiving roundup post and let her know what you think of our dishes
  • Follow @VirtualPotluck on Twitter
  • Follow @MarxFoods on Twitter 
  • Tweet about this contest - You can use the following tweet: Want to win free vanilla beans & chilies from @MarxFoods? Check out @TaratheFoodie's contest here! #virtualpotluck
  • Like the Virtual Potluck Facebook page
  • Like the Marx Foods Facebook page
  • Visit any other Virtual Potluck blogger's site and leave a comment on their Virtual Potluck post

Good luck and thanks for entering!  To learn more about Virtual Potluck, click here.

Herbed Risotto with Spicy Mushroom Gravy

risotto, mushroom, side, main, Italian

See Herbed Risotto with Spicy Mushroom Gravy on Key Ingredient.


  1. What could be better than risotto? Risotto with GRAVY! Ah, if only you lived closer -- I'd be right over.

  2. That mushroom gravy looks to die for! I've made risotto twice and I think I may need you to give me lessons.

  3. Looks so tasty! I could swim in that gravy!

  4. Looks amazing! That risotto looks perfectly cooked, great job dear!

  5. I left a comment on the Roundup post.

  6. I follow Virtual Potluck on Twitter.

  7. I liked the Virtual Potluck's Facebook page.

  8. I liked the Marx Foods Facebook page

  9. Love your photos...this dish sounds perfect

  10. This has my husband's name written all over it. I think I know what I'll be making him for his birthday next year!

  11. I need to make a risotto again. This looks excellent!

  12. Love the step by-step and all of your photos! What a heavenly fall comfort dish you prepared!

  13. I love risotto - great recipe! I would like to win vanilla beans so I can make homemade vanilla extract. These look perfect for that application.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. You could use that mushroom gravy for so many dishes, but extra creamy risotto sounds dreamy. We're drooling a bit over here...don’t mind us...

  16. I would make homemade Vanilla Extract.

  17. I visited Cookistry and posted a comment on the Marx Foods Thanksgiving roundup.

  18. I like VP on FB

  19. I like Marx Foods on FB.

  20. I left a comment on Farmgirl Gourmet's post :)

  21. I like anything with rice, but pairing it with that sauce makes it even better.


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If you are commenting to enter a giveaway, please do not comment as "Anonymous". If you choose to comment as "Name/URL", please use your Twitter handle as your Name or provide a URL that provides us a way to contact you in the even that you are the winner. Thank you! ~ FOODIE