Mushroom and garlic buckwheat risotto

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Santa brought me a rather lovely sauté pan for Christmas and for it's first outing I couldn't think of anything better than a creamy risotto. This recipe uses buckwheat groats instead of risotto rice, it's gluten free and has a delicate nutty flavour. Much like risotto rice, the buckwheat softens as it absorbs the cooking liquid providing a silky smooth texture.  

After a wonderfully indulgent couple of weeks packed with cheeses, chutneys, roast meats and vegetable gratins, not to mention and abundance of sweet treats, I was in the mood for a simple meal with a few individual strong flavours. This risotto is warming, filling and an easy meal to make on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I’m guilty of enjoying a big bowlful whist sitting on the sofa catching up with the latest episode of Sherlock. 

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2016.

Ingredients: serves two
150g buckwheat groats
1 white onion
3 garlic cloves
Fresh thyme
250ml vegetable stock
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
Juice of half a lemon
150-200g mushrooms (I used a mix of chestnut and shiitake) 
Coconut oil for frying
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Method
Heat a knob of coconut oil in a large pan (one that has a lid) on a medium heat. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan. Allow the onion to soften and brown slightly. Finely chop two of the garlic cloves and remove the leaves from 5-6 sprigs of thyme and add both to the pan. Add the buckwheat groats and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and allow the ingredients to sauté for 5 minutes. 

Pour in the vegetable stock and allow to simmer with the lid on for 12 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, heat a knob of coconut oil on a medium/high heat. Slice the mushrooms and add to the pan. Take the third garlic clove and crush lightly so it releases its flavour and add this to the pan with the mushrooms. Place in a few sprigs of thyme and fry all together until the mushrooms are soft and golden. 

Add the lemon juice and coconut milk to the buckwheat risotto, stirring on a medium/high heat. Continue stirring for 10-15 minutes until the buckwheat is soft and the mixture is thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Add half of the mushrooms to the risotto and stir through. Spoon the risotto into two bowls and divide the remaining mushrooms on top of each bowl. Finish with a grating of parmesan cheese.