Wild Mushroom and Black Garlic Rice




This mushroom rice dish was thrown together whilst I was at uni when embracing the challenge of living on a second hand shoestring. It is one of those staple vegetarian meals I often make when I fancy an evening off meat. Mushrooms have such a deep and earthy flavour that you never miss the meat here and this really is just as satisfying. I like to top mine with a quenelle of cool, smooth cream cheese to off set the garlic hum but a molten poached egg with a cascading larva of golden egg yolk would also sit on top here as naturally as clotted cream on a pillowey toasted scone.

However, today I experimented with black garlic. Garlic is undoubtedly good for you. From warning off infections and fighting your bodies battles to pungently and helpfully keep away any unwanted attention from the opposite sex….! Double bonus. I don’t think anyone walks past their local pizza place or Indian with the waft of freshly baking garlic bread suctioning up their nostrils not to momentarily drift into garlicky cloud nice. I love nothing more than the delights and simple efforts of roasting a whole garlic head in the oven before squeezing the obliging sweet contents into a pestle and morta, mashing to a paste and stirring into risottos or sauces. There is nothing as effortless that imparts so much amazing flavour.

So surely black garlic is to be even better. Delicious I can conclude but on a totally different level. Sweet but amazingly deep in flavour these gooey and pastey gloves are like jelly cubes of balsamic vinegar, a ‘fruit pastel’ of balsamic if you will. It is only a matter of time before Heston makes this imported Korean fad into an ice cream (I will await this patiently….very patiently, no rush Heston.) I’m only at the tip of my black garlic experiments using it tamely sliced here. But mashed to a paste, stirred into stews, risottos and sauces I am sure I will be sharing these soon…..the ice cream however will have to wait for now. Black garlic pasta or gnocchi…however…!

Serves 2

  • 250g mixed mushrooms, chestnut, oyster etc, chopped roughly in chunks
  • 4oz wild rice (a mix of brown, Camargue, wild rice)
  • 2 gloves of black garlic OR 2 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large knob of butter
  • Handful of flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese/2 poached eggs to serve
  1. Begin by simmering the rice for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a generous knob of butter with a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat until the butter foams.
  3. Add the chopped mushrooms and some generous salt and pepper and fry for about 10 minutes over a medium heat.The water will be released so continue to cook until this evaporates and the mushrooms are soft and golden. (Now Julia Child fans, remember- don’t crowd your mushrooms, they won’t brown! So cook in batches if necessary)
  4. If using normal garlic, chop finely and add now and fry for a few minutes turning the heat down if starting to catch.
  5. Now, tip in the rice and stir into the mushrooms with the sesame oil and fry for a few minutes.
  6. Add the chopped black garlic and the parsley and mix to combine and heat through.
  7. Serve in large warmed bowls with an extra scatter of parsley some slices of black garlic and a creamy quenelle of cream cheese. Alternatively add that molten poached egg and crack on with devouring.