Chef Linda
Linda Soper-Kolton, Chef, came to the Sanctuary as a guest chef to share her love of compassionate cooking in our then-fledgling culinary program. Lured by the magic of the Sanctuary, her love of animals and the urgency of our mission, Linda stayed on to lead and grow the culinary program, inspiring and educating with love, patience, and delicious food.
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Chef Sara
Sara Boan, Chef, joined the Sanctuary staff in 2016 and has been developing recipes and sharing her passion for vegan cooking ever since. She teaches award-winning year-round vegan cooking classes at The Homestead and leads food demos for weekend tour visitors in the spring, summer and fall. When she’s not teaching, Sara is most likely spending time with her partner, snuggling with her rescued kitties or enjoying a cup of freshly brewed oolong tea.
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Shiitake Risotto, Charred Brussels Sprouts, and King Oyster Scallops

By Chef Linda

Inspired by the 2020 Golden Globe vegan menu, this dish demonstrates that plant-based foods deserve the center stage today for reasons of climate change, health, and compassion. To achieve the creamy, soul-satisfying unctuousness of this classic rice dish you need no dairy, no butter, no animal protein. This plant-based version is perfection. 

The trick to risotto is nothing more than a patient hand and a watchful eye. To create the sought-after consistency of risotto requires attending to the pan by adding ladlefuls of hot broth while stirring almost constantly: Like kneading dough, it can be quite relaxing. Brussels sprouts are an uncommon ingredient in risotto. Charring them in a pan and cooking them al dente creates a wonderful smokiness and fresh bite which are interesting counterpoints to the luscious tenderness of the rice.

I could say that topping this dish with scallops made from king oyster mushrooms is not necessary, but once you've tasted them, you'll know that it is. King oyster mushrooms have long, thick stems that are meaty, not woody like some other varieties. Cut them into thick coins and sear them and they present an uncanny resemblance in taste and texture to sea scallops. You may have to check a couple of stores to find them, but if you love scallops and want a plant-based alternative, you'll believe that a little legwork is a small price to pay.

Traditional risotto is topped with grated parmesan. As luck would have it, we live in a time where the convenience of tasty vegan products is all around us. I used Violife: Just Like Parmesan Wedge and it added a lovely, sharp note to the dish, but because this dish is so creamy and full of fresh, original flavors, you won't miss it if you choose not to use it.

Ingredients

 6 tbsp olive oil, divided
 10 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
 4 large king oyster mushrooms, caps thinly sliced, stems cut into 3/4-inch rounds
 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
 8 cups mushroom* or vegetable stock/broth
 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
 2 large cloves garlic, minced
 1 ¾ cups arborio rice
 Zest and juice from one lemon, plus 1 extra lemon for serving
 Vegan Parmesan (I used Violife: Just Like Parmesan), optional

Directions

HEAT THE STOCK. Bring the stock to a simmer in a pot. The amount you'll ultimately need depends on factors like the size of your risotto pan, how much you stir, and the temperature of your stove. (*To make a quick mushroom stock in advance, remove the shiitake stems and place them in a pot with 8 cups of water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and simmer for about 30 minutes or up to an hour. Remove the stems and discard. Strain if necessary.)

COOK SHIITAKE AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, straight-sided pan over medium-high. Add the sliced shiitake and king oyster mushroom caps. Stir to coat in oil, then let the mushrooms brown without stirring for about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt then stir. Let mushrooms continue to brown, stirring only occasionally, for another 5 minutes or so. Transfer the mushrooms to a medium-sized bowl and return pan to heat. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan. When the oil just starts to shimmer and the pan is hot, add the Brussels sprouts and let cook, untouched for about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Let cook with minimal stirring for another 5 to 8 minutes. The Brussels sprouts should have a nice char and be slightly tender but still have a bite to them. Transfer them to the bowl with the mushrooms and set aside. Return the pan to the heat.

COOK THE RICE: Reduce the heat to medium. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add the onions and stir, cooking for about 5 minutes until they start to become soft and translucent; avoid browning. Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add the rice and stir until coated with oil. Cook for a minute or two. Add the simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition; the almost-constant stirring is what creates a creamy risotto. Wait until the stock is almost absorbed before adding more. Continue the process until the rice is just tender but with a little bite to it. When the last of the stock has been added, stir in the lemon zest and juice, the mushrooms, and the Brussels sprouts. Remove from heat: Risotto should not be cooked until dry, like regular rice. The process should take about 25 minutes. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you like.

MAKE THE MUSHROOM SCALLOPS. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a separate pan over medium-high heat. Arrange the sliced king oyster mushroom stems face down in the pan. Cook without stirring for 4 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes until those sides are golden brown as well. Sprinkle with a little salt. Remove from heat.

SERVE. Arrange risotto in individual bowls or plates with several scallops placed on top. Garnish with vegan parmesan cheese, if desired. If there's extra broth, feel free to add a few spoonfuls. Then give a squeeze of fresh lemon if you like.

Shiitake Risotto, Charred Brussels Sprouts, and King Oyster Scallops

Shiitake Risotto, Charred Brussels Sprouts, and King Oyster Scallops

DifficultyModerateCook Time50 mins
YIELDS
Serves 6

shiitake risotto
INGREDIENTS

 6 tbsp olive oil, divided
 10 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
 4 large king oyster mushrooms, caps thinly sliced, stems cut into 3/4-inch rounds
 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
 8 cups mushroom* or vegetable stock/broth
 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
 2 large cloves garlic, minced
 1 ¾ cups arborio rice
 Zest and juice from one lemon, plus 1 extra lemon for serving
 Vegan Parmesan (I used Violife: Just Like Parmesan), optional

DIRECTIONS

HEAT THE STOCK. Bring the stock to a simmer in a pot. The amount you'll ultimately need depends on factors like the size of your risotto pan, how much you stir, and the temperature of your stove. (*To make a quick mushroom stock in advance, remove the shiitake stems and place them in a pot with 8 cups of water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and simmer for about 30 minutes or up to an hour. Remove the stems and discard. Strain if necessary.)

COOK SHIITAKE AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, straight-sided pan over medium-high. Add the sliced shiitake and king oyster mushroom caps. Stir to coat in oil, then let the mushrooms brown without stirring for about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt then stir. Let mushrooms continue to brown, stirring only occasionally, for another 5 minutes or so. Transfer the mushrooms to a medium-sized bowl and return pan to heat. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan. When the oil just starts to shimmer and the pan is hot, add the Brussels sprouts and let cook, untouched for about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Let cook with minimal stirring for another 5 to 8 minutes. The Brussels sprouts should have a nice char and be slightly tender but still have a bite to them. Transfer them to the bowl with the mushrooms and set aside. Return the pan to the heat.

COOK THE RICE: Reduce the heat to medium. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add the onions and stir, cooking for about 5 minutes until they start to become soft and translucent; avoid browning. Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add the rice and stir until coated with oil. Cook for a minute or two. Add the simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition; the almost-constant stirring is what creates a creamy risotto. Wait until the stock is almost absorbed before adding more. Continue the process until the rice is just tender but with a little bite to it. When the last of the stock has been added, stir in the lemon zest and juice, the mushrooms, and the Brussels sprouts. Remove from heat: Risotto should not be cooked until dry, like regular rice. The process should take about 25 minutes. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you like.

MAKE THE MUSHROOM SCALLOPS. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a separate pan over medium-high heat. Arrange the sliced king oyster mushroom stems face down in the pan. Cook without stirring for 4 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes until those sides are golden brown as well. Sprinkle with a little salt. Remove from heat.

SERVE. Arrange risotto in individual bowls or plates with several scallops placed on top. Garnish with vegan parmesan cheese, if desired. If there's extra broth, feel free to add a few spoonfuls. Then give a squeeze of fresh lemon if you like.

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