Published on September 23, 2022 at 5:43 p.m.
Having officiated for 15 years in Buckingham, Darren McGrady knows better than anyone the eating habits of the royal family. The latter had notably shared in one of his works the favorite menu of Elizabeth II. However, the chef will have mainly cooked for Charles III, recently proclaimed King of England, Princess Diana and their children, William and Harry. According to him, the couple was very focused on Italian gastronomy, judging it simple and elegant. Moreover, the latter was often on the menu, when the family was reunited. Harry and William, still children at the time, loved pizza, the chef cooked for Charles and Diana one of the king’s favorite dishes, a risotto of wild mushrooms, accompanied by lamb.
King Charles, a committed gastronome
Darren Mc Grady confides: “Charles is a fine gourmet. He always insisted on knowing the origin of what was served. He was into organic farming maybe even before it was invented. […] This is one of the things that fascinates me about him, culinary speaking. He is particularly keen to use products from his garden. Moreover, the wild mushrooms that the sovereign loves and used for his favorite risotto come from his own estates. Charles III, knowing the best mushroom spots in Balmoral and Highgrove, used to take his chefs out picking them himself.
The recipe for risotto with porcini mushrooms and rack of lamb, basil oil
For 4 people
Preparation: 10 mins
Cooking: 39 mins
For the lamb
- 1 rack of lamb degreased and mended
- Salt pepper
- Olive oil
For the risotto
- 1 drizzle of olive oil
- 320 g arborio rice
- 25 dried porcini mushrooms
- 1.5 liters of chicken broth
- 10 cl pinot grigio or chardonnay
- 75 g parmesan
- 75 g of pecorino
- Salt pepper
- truffle oil
For the basil oil
- 50 cl of olive oil
- 20g fresh basil
- 1 pinch of salt
Start by cooking the lamb. Preheat the oven to 205°C.
Season the rack of lamb with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Sear the rack of lamb on each side to obtain a nice caramelization on the surface.
Remove the meat to a dish, then bake for 20 minutes.
Once cooked, remove the rack from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving the ribs.
Proceed to the preparation of the risotto. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the rice and dried porcini mushrooms, stir to coat with oil.
Pour the chicken broth into the skillet, ladle by ladle, making sure the liquid is completely absorbed between each addition.
Stir continuously for 10 minutes over low heat, then add the white wine.
Cook for another 10 minutes, without stopping to stir.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the parmesan and the pecorino. Pepper and salt if necessary. Add a drizzle of truffle oil, mix and leave to stand.
Prepare the basil oil. Blend the olive oil, basil and salt until smooth.
Prepare the dish by placing a nice ladle of risotto in a deep plate, place the lamb chops on top, and finish with a drizzle of basil oil.
The chef’s tips for successful risotto
Mix the rice with the ceps
For the rice to soak up more of the flavor of the porcini mushrooms, Mc Grady recommends mixing the two raw ingredients beforehand. Do this at the beginning of the recipe before you even prepare the lamb.
Cook the lamb sous vide
In the original recipe, the chef uses a vacuum packer to prepare the rack of lamb. The piece of meat, after having been seared in the frying pan, is placed in a special bag. He then uses the device to expel the air from the bag and seal it. The lamb thus wrapped is then cooked in a bain-marie between 1h and 1h30.
The chef says he prefers this cooking because it preserves the flavors better, as they are concealed in the bag. However, since not everyone has such a device at home, he offers the alternative of cooking the meat in the oven at 205°C.
Master cooking rice
“You have to constantly watch him. It’s not like when you cook rice [à la casserole] (note). You can’t just throw it in the water and walk away or answer the phone,” McGrady said. The same goes for the broth, which must be added gradually because “if you add too much broth at the same time, you will get soup. Also, the chef specifies that it is important to use a good quality chicken broth to give flavor to the risotto.
salt at the end
The broth and the cheese already bring salt to the risotto, salt at the very last moment and only if it seems necessary to you.
We don’t know about you, but all of this gave us a serious craving for mushroom risotto!