On one of our first dates, my husband and I went to a charming little restaurant in New York City's Greenwich Village. Mushrooms are, hands down, my favorite vegetable so, naturally, I ordered a grilled Portabello mushroom appetizer. I offered my husband a taste, which he took very willingly and seemed to enjoy. A couple of dates later, in a true confession kind of moment, my husband revealed that he would be very happy if he never saw a mushroom again. It turns out that he violently detests the little fungi - always has, always will (believe me, I have tried to change his mind). I felt rather honored that he choked down a mushroom just to impress me. As a result of my husband's less-than-amorous feelings towards mushrooms, I don't tend to cook with them often. However, when he goes out of town on business, I buy the biggest package of mushrooms I can find and cook dishes such as Mixed Mushroom & Gorgonzola Pizza; Mixed Mushroom, Gorgonzola, & Prosciutto Crostini; and this flavorful, fulfilling rice dish.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ½ chopped onion, 2 chopped stalks of celery, 2 minced cloves of garlic, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme. Season with ½ salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
Cook until the vegetables are soft and the onion is just starting to brown, 7 to 8 minutes.
Add ¾ cups brown rice. Toast the rice for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add ¼ cup dry white wine and stir until the wine is absorbed.
Pour in 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 60-70 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Typically, brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook. However, with the added vegetables, it will take a little longer in this recipe.
Slice 10 ounces of cremini (cremini) and 3 ounces of shiitake mushrooms.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked and slightly browned. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Avoid seasoning the mushrooms with salt earlier in the cooking process, or else the mushrooms will release their liquid.
Stir 2 cups fresh spinach leaves and the mushroom mixture into the cooked rice.