I am a firm believer in the saying “necessity is the mother of invention”. Dinner is necessary. At least that’s what my family keeps telling me.
Many of our dinners are creations made from scraps of leftovers. Over the course of a few days a variety of containers will get strewn throughout our refrigerator holding tidbits of various foods. Not enough in each one for another meal, but too much to ignore. I’ll figure out some way to throw them together and call it good. You’d be surprised at what flavors can actually blend together.
Not long ago I had a decent amount of my cream of mushroom soup leftover in the fridge. As usual, not enough for another meal, but too much to ignore. I figured I would make it stretch by adding some rice and cooking it together. The end result went over so well with everyone I decided to make it on purpose with actual measurements. Like a traditional risotto, the rice came out creamy but firm, and full of flavor. It was gone in minutes.
Some quick notes before you begin:
For obvious reasons, I’m partial to my own recipe for cream of mushroom soup. However, any kind you want to use will also work. Yes, even the stuff in the red and white can. If you use a condensed type, be sure to prepare it first according to the directions.
You will notice that the ingredients call for far more liquid than what is used for normally preparing rice. This is due to the fact that the pan will need to be uncovered and will allow for more water to evaporate (similar to making rizogalo, Greek rice pudding). You may also need to adjust the amount of water you use to work with the texture of the soup you decide to start with.
My own recipe for cream of mushroom soup uses rosemary for seasoning. If you start with a different soup, try adding fresh rosemary for a wonderful touch of flavor to complement the earthiness of the mushrooms.
Creamy Mushroom Soup Risotto
For every cup of prepared cream of mushroom soup you will need:
- 3/4 to 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup white rice, any variety except for quick cooking rice
- 1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients into a pan, using the lower amount of water to start, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, stirring every few minutes to keep the bottom from scorching. Stir more frequently as the risotto begins to thicken.
Check the rice as the liquid is absorbed to see if it is soft enough. If it is still firm, add more water a little at a time as needed until done. Keep in mind that it will firm up as it sits so don’t worry if it seems a little wet. When the rice has the desired texture, adjust seasoning with salt and/or pepper and remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan and allow the risotto to sit for five minutes before serving. This is hearty enough to be a meal of its own, but can also be served as a side dish. Enjoy!