Monday, January 4, 2010

Beka's Unconventional Risotto (using no cheese, and stock from christmas turkey)

I received arborio (risotto) rice as a Christmas gift from a close friend of my mother's (thanks, Val!) and was dying to make a lovely creamy winter risotto. I have no fancy parmesan cheese. And instead of using chicken stock, I was interested in using the leftover stock I'd made from our Christmas turkey. So this was definitely a creative adventure. The result? The best risotto I've ever made (according to me as well as my husband). It was creamy, comforting and filling just like a risotto should be, but it was lighter without the cheese. And the homemade turkey stock created a lovely post-holidays flavor that just overwhelmed us. It was fantastic! So the next time you roast a turkey, make that stock and save it for a risotto. It's delicious. And hey, who needs to spend $6-8 on fancy cheese when it's so good without it? Leaving out the cheese made it understated enough for a side dish. Not nearly as heavy. Anyway, here's what I did:
  • about 6 cups turkey stock (leftover from holiday turkey, in my case), but you can always use chicken stock, even from a can, I won't hold it against you
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine (room temperature)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Put the turkey stock in a saucepan and keep at a gentle simmer. Melt half the butter in a large, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Cook gently for 10 minutes until soft, golden and translucent, but not browned. Add garlic and saute for additional 3-5 minutes.

Add the rice and stir until well coated with butter and heated through.

Pour in the wine, boil hard until it has reduced and almost disappeared. This will remove that raw alcohol taste.

Begin adding the turkey stock, a large ladle at a time, stirring gently until each ladle has been almost absorbed into the rice. The risotto should be kept at a bare simmer throughout cooking, so don't let the rice dry out - add more broth as necessary. Continue until the rice is tender and creamy, but the grains are still firm. This should take about 20 minutes, depending on the type of rice used (check package instructions).

Taste and season well with salt and pepper and beat in the remaining butter.

Turn off the heat and let risotto rest for a few minutes to finish absorbing the rest of the liquid and to set up. Serve immediately after. I hit it with a generous amount of salt and pepper before serving. If it's a bit sticky, add a little extra hot broth at the end to get the right texture.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

One Pot Pork Chops, Gravy, & Veg

Made this up today based on the contents of our fridge and the fact that it's freezing outside. Started out sauteeing two thick boneless pork chops in the pan and then just kept adding stuff. Turned out lovely:

  • 2 thick boneless pork chops
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • rosemary
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pearl onions (I used a combination of yellow, white and red)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • cornstarch

As always, vary this a million different ways based on what you like and what you have in the fridge that needs to get used up....

Sprinkle chops with salt, pepper, and a pinch of rosemary and sautee in pan to brown both sides.

Add 3/4 of the chicken broth and start tossing in chopped garlic, onions and potatoes. Cover for a bit to cook veggies.

Uncover, add butter & milk. Stir remining chicken stock with a bit of cornstarch and add to thicken.

Cut up chops, put them in little crocks and cover with the veggies and broth/gravy/sauce. Sprinkle a little extra salt & rosemary on top.

Quick. Easy. Comforting. And it's not even soup, for once.