This is the last installment of Matsutake dishes. Because Japanese consider rice to be the main stay of the meal or “shushoku” 主食, “Takikomi goahnn” 炊き込みご飯 or rice seasoned with other ingredients is something special, especially if seasonal items are incorporated such as mushrooms (especially matsutake 松茸) and chestnuts 栗 in fall and bamboo shoots in spring. As I mentioned earlier, we got 1 Lb of of North American (Oregon) matsutake mushrooms. One of the dishes I made was a type of seasoned rice, “Matustake rice” 松茸ご飯. I made this with only matsutake so as not to cover up the subtle but distinctive aroma and flavor of the mushroom.
Matsutake: Among the matsutake we got, I picked a very large one for this dish (left upper in the image below). After clearing the matsutake as I described before, I separated the stem and the head since this was a large one. I torn the stem in the direction of the fibers (right upper in the image below). I made rather fine shreds of the stem and then halved the head and sliced it (left lower). I doused the pieces with sake and light-colored soy sauce or usukuchi shouyu 薄口醤油 and let it be absorbed for few minutes.
I do not use the donabe cooker that often just because it is a bit of work to clean and dry (especially drying) it after use. But there is no doubt it produces better cooked rice. The matsutake rice turned out really well with lots of flavor and a nice slightly firm texture– it was perfect. Usually a special Japanese herb called “mitsuba” 三つ葉 is called for but I did not have any. I used the thinly sliced green part of a scallion instead for garnish. We were not able to finish all the rice, so we put the leftovers into small packages and froze them. We’ll let you know how that works out. You should taste this at least once a year.