Spanish Mushroom Rice

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Spanish rice dishes are among the best in the world, none more famous than paella. Think of this as a mushroom paella, not the classic paella Valenciana. My recipe centers on the rice, yes, but also mushrooms, a little pork, and some shredded meat. If I had to be pinned down on what to call this, it is, primarily, a mushroom rice.

Autumn or winter is when you want to eat this dish. It’s warming, the mushrooms are in season, maybe you’re hunting. I’ve added shredded chukar to this dish — chukar is a species of partridge commonly hunted in Spain. You can use whatever white meat you want, from shredded chicken breast to rabbit or quail.

A platter of Spanish mushroom rice
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

My version of mushroom rice really hinges on the combination of both fresh and dried mushrooms. Flavor is king here. No white button mushrooms! For the dried, any good selection of dried you can find. There are “forest blends” I like a lot, and if you are going for just one variety, black trumpets, morels or porcini would be my favorite. For fresh, I used porcini, but anything with flavor works: maitake (hen of the woods), other boletes, chanterelles, cremini, shiitake or those “chef blend” packets you can buy in the store.

I got the inspiration for this recipe from a fantastic book by Daniel Olivella called Catalan Food: Culture and Flavors from the Mediterranean, which I highly recommend. His version is Hunter’s Rice, which is, more or less, what this is: After all, you hunt both mushrooms and the birds that go into this.

To really make this recipe the way it ought to be you need a wide, shallow pan and Spanish rice. I prefer bomba rice, which you can buy online or in some specialty stores, but risotto rice works, too. Look for arborio rice. This will not work well with typical supermarket long-grain rice. But almost every supermarket I’ve ever been in at least has arborio risotto rice.

You’ll also want to make a sofrito, which is a Spanish and Latin American base that many dishes are built on. I give you a recipe for it below, but the store bought sofrito from Goya or whomever is perfectly fine here.

All this sound too involved for mushroom rice? If you’re looking for a simple side dish, maybe it is. This however is a meal in itself, something to drink wine and celebrate with. Something to show off your ingredients, because each plays a prominent role in the finished rice.

A tray of ingredients for making mushroom rice
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

It really isn’t very hard to make. You cook the dish in a wide, open pan, like a big frying pan, and you add the various liquids by pouring them around the edges of the pan, several times, to cook the rice while getting some crusty bits on the bottom that make paella so distinctive.

Should you have leftovers, they are phenomenal as breakfast the next day, bound with a few scrambled eggs.

Incidentally, the concept of mushroom rice is close to universal. I have a recipe for Japanese matsutake rice, as well as several different Italian mushroom risottos, from a porcini risotto to a morel risotto. I also use wild mushrooms with my wild rice pilaf.

I like to make this dish as one of many courses in a Spanish feast. Serve this after a course of zarzuela de mariscos, and if you want a great appetizer, try making some salt cod fritters with saffron aioli. I also like incorporating fish with green sauce.

A platter of Spanish mushroom rice
5 from 12 votes

Spanish Mushroom Rice

A great many of these ingredients have substitutions if you can't find them, but I go through the most important ones above.
Course: Main Course, Rice
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients 

SOFRITO

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 Anaheim or poblano pepper, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato puree
  • Salt

RICE

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms
  • 3 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound shredded white meat (chicken, rabbit, partridge, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 cups bomba or risotto rice
  • 1 tablespoon black sage or regular sage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup sofrito (see above)
  • 1 quart chicken or game stock
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley

Instructions 

SOFRITO

  • Heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium high heat. Sauté the onions and pepper until soft, stirring often. When they are soft, add the tomato puree and cook another 10 minutes on low heat. Add salt to taste. Ideally, you would wait for this to cool completely before pureeing it in a blender, but you can blend it right away; waiting will give you a darker, redder color.

RICE

  • Start by putting the dried mushrooms in a small bowl. Pouring the boiling water over the dried mushrooms and cover the bowl while you do the rest of the prep.
  • Remove the dried mushrooms from the water and chop. Strain any debris out of the soaking water and reserve the water.
  • In a wide, shallow pan heat the bacon and olive oil over medium heat. Chop up the mushrooms, separating stems from caps. Once the bacon starts sizzling, add the stems to the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until both the stems and the bacon are crispy.
  • Add the caps and garlic and continue to cook a few minutes, then add the shredded meat, chopped rehydrated mushrooms, smoked paprika, rice and sage. Mix well and cook for a minute or two.
  • Pour in the sofrito, the mushroom soaking water and 1 cup of stock, plus a pinch of salt. Mix well and let this cook over medium heat undisturbed until you hear it begin to sizzle a bit. This is the liquid boiling away. Pour 1 cup of the stock around the edges of the pan and let this boil until you hear the sizzle again. Do this 2 more times if need be. After the 3rd cup of stock is almost gone, taste the rice to see if it's done. You might not need the 4th cup, or you might even need a 5th cup, in which case you can use water.
  • Once the rice is done, grind black pepper over everything and sprinkle the herbs on top. Serve with a big white wine or a dry rose.

Notes

NOTE: The sofrito recipe makes more than you need, but it stores well in the fridge for a few weeks, and can be frozen. 

Nutrition

Calories: 509kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 583mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 336IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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11 Comments

  1. Fantastic recipe! One I have made over and over and always have friends raving. Whatever stock you’re using, make sure it has good flavor. If it’s store bought, doctor it up a bit before using in this dish. Good smoked paprika is important as well. I’ve even dropped the bacon & chicken to make a vegetarian version with chicken of the woods mushroom and my vegatarian friends loved it.

  2. I made Olivella’s version of this dish first since I got his book as a Christmas gift this year (awesome book by the way, Hank’s book recommendations are always great) but I made Hank’s version just last night. It’s awesome. I like the fact that the whole dish works as a sort of grab-bag for whatever meats you have kicking around, and since you can play around with the mushrooms too, I expect this to be the sort of dish that will be a little different each time I make it. Excellent stuff!

  3. I used porcini and morel mushrooms for the dried, and regular cremini for the fresh mushrooms. I used a pheasant for the meat – pressure cooked it for 30 min, then shredded the meat off the bone and it was perfect. I ordered the bomba rice and am glad I did, since the texture and doneness of the rice were perfect. As Hank says, this is a warming dish, perfect for a -10°F Alaskan night. Delicious!

  4. This is probably one of my favorite recipes from here so far. This dish spoke to my soul! I had a mixture of chanterelles, brown beech mushrooms, and baby bellas for the fresh mushrooms, and porchini, birch bolete, and morel for the dried. I used a pheasant and cooked the carcass and the legs in some store bought chicken bone broth, pulled the meat off the bones and used the flavored broth and the meat for the recipe. I added a pheasant breast pan fried with sage butter to make it more of a full meal, but honestly it wasn’t even necessary. This is so filling and delicious as it is.

  5. Great recipe! I used a “forest blend” of dried and fresh mushrooms, the suggested rice (1 kilo from Amazon for $20 and no shipping charge as a Prime member) and chicken. I brined and braised the chicken breast, which came out very moist, then used a trick I found on-line; once done rest the hot chicken for a few minutes then put it into a counter stand mixer with a flat beater. Turn the mixer on it’s lowest setting and it will shred the chicken to a uniform size in about 3 minutes. I then passed the recipe on to my 6 children with a big thumbs up. Thanks!

  6. This is going to be one of those “I made lots of changes to the recipe and…” reviews, but not in the usual “it was terrible – 1 star. Bad recipe.” way. So as usual it seems we run sortof similar seasonal lives because I went mushroom hunting and found a bunch of chanterelles a week or two ago (made the Chanterelles with Pumpkin Spaetzle – a seasonal go to). The the Venison Birria recipe went up and I was like “Hey, I have a venison neck in the freezer I really need to use…” (But I cheated and used our crockpot overnight instead of banana leaves and dough sealed pot. Less authentic, still super good.) Then this popped up just as we’d slaughtered our chickens for the winter and I had some chanties left over still, and some tomatoes ripening on the counter after pulling the plants… Popped on the audiobook of ‘Dracula’ and got to cooking.

    So subs were: concasse’d fresh tomatoes instead of puree. Last ounce of dried morels we’d found last year for the dried. Some lobster mushrooms and chanterelles for the fresh mushrooms. Sweet dry chorizo instead of bacon. Two boned out chicken legs for the shreaded chicken, cubed and cooked in the chroizo-olive oil grease. Green onions instead of chives and more italian parsley both in the rice now and on top.

    The BIG OOPS, and a bit of a gripe with recipes that only have you use a portion of some part you made, was I was happily cooking away and just spaced out and poured the entire blender of sofrito in all at once.

    @#$%.

    Think fast. Cut it with about a cup of the mushroom liquid, added a spoon of chicken bouillon, added another 1/2 cup of rice. Popped it into a 375 degree oven and finished it in there more like some kind of pilaf. Took a while but worked a treat! Still super good, even better the next day. Just pay attention to the instructions carefully (and maybe have a little less wine while cooking…)

  7. Any suggestions for the leftover sofrito aside from using it for this again? I am excited to use it in other dishes.

    This was amazing. I have been on quite a HGC binge. 2 weeks ago, I took 6 pheasants, made your schnitzel, your confit, and also your stock. I used the stock for this rice dish. It was so fun to stretch everything out and use every part. Thanks so much for such a thoughtful recipe! Perfect for this cold weather change in MN.

    Charlie from Saint Paul.

    1. Charlie: Awesome! Glad you’ve been liking the recipes. The sofrito is great just as the first step in everyday rice. Add some oil to a pot, fry up some minced onions, throw in some sofrito, then the rice, cook that a minute or three, then add the requisite water or broth for the rice. Cover and cook.

  8. It’s October and cool and raining in northeastern Penna. I was driving thru the woods today to get animal food and thinking I could be in those woods, with a basket and my knife, hunting chanterelles, etc. Thanks for your timely recipe of Spanish mushroom paella. I like your emails Hank and thank you for sharing many of your favorite things!

    Sincerely, Stephen