A Forest Floor Still Life with Mushrooms and a Snake
Otto van Schrieck, A Forest Floor Still Life with Mushrooms and a Snake, c. 1657
oil on canvas, private collection

Otto van Schrick was a Dutch painter of Golden Age who according to the Musee de Beaux Arts, “invented a particular genre half-way between still life and landscape painting.” His dark and sombre compositions of flora and fauna often contained lizards and snakes alongside the flowers and mushrooms scattered on the forest floor. The painting above features a much brighter palette compared to the majority of the work in his oeuvre and depicts a number of mushroom specimen demonstrating van Schrieck’s interest in documenting the natural world.

For information on the history of risotto, please see this earlier post.

Recipe for Chicken, Mushroom and Feta Risotto

{Chicken, Mushroom & Feta Risotto}

Adapted from Taste.com.au
Yield: 4 servings

20 grams salted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used the oil from the jar of marinated feta)
1 brown onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
250 grams button mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Arborio risotto rice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1.5 liters chicken stock
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup marinated feta, crumbled

In a large pot, melt the butter in the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and the dried thyme, cooking for 2-3 minutes before adding the garlic and the mushrooms. Continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the onions are soft and the mushrooms have begun to expel moisture. Add the rice and stir well, coating the grains in the butter and oil. After about a minute, once the grains begin to crackle, add the vinegar and stir until the liquid has been absorbed.

Begin adding the chicken stock about a cup at a time, stirring well after each addition and adding the next portion once it has been absorbed by the rice. It should take about 20 minutes for the entire 1.5 litters of stock to be added. At the end, add the grated Parmesan and feta and stir well.

Leftovers keep well in the fridge and can be easily reheated. Add a bit of water to loosen the risotto up if reheating.