Tag: risotto

yet another risotto


Actually, that’s unfair, because we haven’t had a risotto in ages. But we did last night.

We bought a pack of chicken thighs in Aldi last week. Pete manfully skinned and filleted them on Saturday, and they’ve been stowed in the freezer (yes, for this was just *before* PumpkinGate) for stir fries or whatever; the cats had the skin, with much enjoyment but no gratitude *at all*, and I slung the bones in the baby slow cooker with some water, with a view to soup making. But then, after the Graet Pumpkin War of 2014, soup was already well over-catered, and I couldn’t freeze this stock either.

I reboiled the bones yesterday, and it made a lovely gelatinous stock. Which seemed absolutely ideal for a risotto, especially as there were little shreds of chicken as well. So I strained the bones out, and rinsed them off with boiling water, to get every drop of chickeny goodness from them, and then topped that up to a pint*.

Sliced a leek and a red pepper, and set them to saute off in a little olive oil and butter. Then added 5oz of Arborio rice and stirred it round to coat it, and then started adding the stock bit by bit, stirring all the time. During the process, I discovered that making risotto is yet another thing that doesn’t go with  watching Borgen with subtitles; no wonder it’s taking me so long to get through it. I digress.

When about 75% of the stock was added, I seasoned with salt and black pepper, and when all the stock was absorbed, I added half a block of feta cheese and stirred until it was melted.

And I can tell you that, although a bowl of risotto in those quantities (we halved it, obviously) doesn’t look much, it’s plenty, and it was delicious.


*This is one of the few recipes I still cook in imperial – easier to remember the mantra of 1 pint / 5 oz.

barley and butternut squash risotto


image from Real Foods


I’ve been meaning to try this for ages, so here you go.

1 cup barley (you should strictly speaking, use pearl, but I used what was in the cupboard, and it was fine)
1 butternut squash, peeled (ugh) and diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 cups water
1 chicken stock cube (or use stock, if you have it handy)
1 shallot, finely sliced
some thyme, fresh or dried
about ½ small glass white wine (or cider would work, or vermouth)
some feta cheese (optional)

Soften the shallot and garlic in a little oil or butter, add the thyme, (or sage, in our case, as Pete had a mad moment and picked the wrong herb from the garden),  and then the barley. Cook  until the grains are toasted.

Put that in a slow cooker on high, add the squash and the water/stock cube, bit of salt and black pepper.  Leave well alone for 4-5 hours.  At that point, I thought it looked a bit dry, which is when I added the wine, and ⅓ of a block of feta cut into cubes, and left it for another hour or so.

Feel free to garnish with flat leaf parsley; having sallied up the road to buy a huge bunch (because the Indian and Continental don’t sell small ones), I completely forgot, so will have to think of something else to use it up.

Very nice indeed., and a great alternative to a rice risotto for those of us who aren’t supposed to eat many carbs. Um.

This was supposed to feed three; it fed two greedy folk, with a bit left over, which went into the soup pot.


chicken and red pepper risotto

We haven’t had a risotto for ages, for some reason.  The carcass of the last chicken we had, about three weeks ago, was stuffed in the freezer; I pulled it out and stuck it in the slow cooker to make stock, and there was a surprising amount of meat on it, which we put in a little brown bowl in the fridge, and Pete declared it suitable for a risotto.

Cardinal rule of risotto for two: 5oz risotto rice, 1 pint liquid.  As I had the chicken stock, I used half a pint of that, and topped it up with cider.  Chopped one red onion and one red pepper, sautéd them with some olive oil, added rice, then stock bit by bit, and some seasoning.  Chicken went in about 5 minutes before the end. Delicious!

[makes note to self that we need more risotto rice]

squash, sage and feta risotto

Two small papaya pear squash in the veg box this week.  We chopped and peeled them both on Saturday, and one is in a bowl in the fridge, with some chopped red onion (because Pete chopped a huge one, and it was way too much).

Boiled the risotto squash for about 12 minutes until it was soft.  Drained and reserved the water.  Sautéd the onion in some olive oil until it was soft. The squash water was just about exactly a pint, which was handy; remember – 1 pint water, 5 oz risotto rice for two people.  I put a goodly pinch of Marigold bouillon there to give it a bit of a boost.

Ladled in stock and rice in instalments, added squash and sage when we were nearly done, added cubed feta at the end.  Scoffed.

Then we had a blackberry and apple cobbler.  Nom nom nom.

leek and feta risotto

I looked at all the pods from the broad beans, and thought “I should be able to make some stock with those”, so I threw them in the slow cooker with some water for a few hours.

There were two rather tired leeks in the fridge, so they were sliced and sautéd in olive oil and butter, then I added 5 oz of arborio rice and stirred it round.  I added some finely chopped lemon balm from the garden too.

Then in went 1 pint of the pod stock (which was not great, but OK), bit by bit, stirring as I went to allow the rice to absorb it..  Some sea salt and black pepper, and half a block of feta at the end, chopped into small chunks, which made it nice and creamy.

asparagus and feta risotto

asparagus and feta risotto

There are some foods we only eat when they’re in season in the UK, and asparagus is one of them; thus we tend to rather gorge ourselves on it at this time of year.  Although we are back on a veg box, we couldn’t resist a big bunch of the glorious green stuff while we were mooching along Gloucester Road last weekend.

As my regular reader (waves to Giles!) will know, we like risotto – for two people, 5oz of risotto rice and 1 pint of liquid (and yes – I know I should go metric on this, but it’s easy to remember), and you’re away.

So – chopped up a red onion and sautéd it in some olive oil, while I chopped half the asparagus into manageable lengths, and cooked it for five minutes.  The liquid was the juice of half a lemon, about half a pint of apple juice, and topped up to the pint with water.  Usual process – add rice bit by bit, add stock till rice plump, rinse and repeat.  Before the last add, I hurled in the asparagus, and a dash of salt and pepper.

At the end, I stirred in half a block of feta cheese.  Fab.

fennel and chickie! risotto

We had a lovely free range roast chickie! on Bank Holiday Monday, which has pretty much dominated our food this week. Last night – risotto.

As I always say, 5oz risotto rice and 1pint of liquid feeds two hungrish folk. The liquid last night was a mix of lemon juice, rice wine and the indispensable Marigold veg bouillon.

Chopped the fennel and a red onion, and fried very slowly in butter and olive oil until the fennel was cooked. Added the rice, and stirred it round. Added the liquid bit by bit, each time waiting till the rice absorbed the liquor. When it was almost all added, popped in some seasoning, and some shredded cooked chicken, then finished off the liquoring.

Quick, simple, tasty. Try it.

duck and fennel risotto

As my regular reader will know, we eat a lot of risotto, but curiously I haven’t made one for ages. We roasted a duck over the Easter weekend, and when I boiled up the carcass for stock, quite a lot of meat came off.

Meals for the next few days had been sort of planned, so I stuck the meat in the freezer for a rainy day.  It didn’t rain yesterday, but there was a bulb of fennel that needed eating up, so the duck was pressed into service.

For two people, use 5oz of risotto rice to 1 pint of  liquid.  For this one, I used the juice of a lemon, some rice wine (well, it was handy!) and water to make it up, with a good pinch of Marigold vegetable powder.

Sliced the fennel fairly thinly, and chopped a red onion, and set them to sauté in some oil and butter. When they were soft, I added the rice and stirred it around to coat it, then started to add the liquid a slosh at a time.  Stir it around until the rice has absorbed it, then add more.  Strictly speaking, you’re supposed to keep the liquid simmering, but I generally don’t bother.  I seasoned with salt and black pepper at some point during the proceedings.

The duck got added with the last slosh of liquor.  The whole process took about 20-25 minutes.  It was very nice.

the risotto that wasn't

using up: smoked trout, a bulb of  fennel

We like risotto; sometimes I make it in the oven, and sometimes I stand over the pot, ladling in stock.  Whatever, I know my 5oz of rice to 1 pint of liquid works.

Today, I thought I’d try the slow cooker.  I did a bit of Googling, and came up with a couple of ideas.

So, chopped the fennel and a red onion, put it in the slow cooker on high with a little olive oil, left it for an hour and stirred, left it for another hour and stirred again.  OK so far.

Added 5 oz of arborio, and 1 pint of veg stock (made with the ever wonderful Marigold bouillon).  Bit of seasoning, knob of butter.  Sorted.  Turned down to low, left for an hour, stirred it, all was well.

Came down half an hour later, zapped a piece of hot smoked trout with some butter in the microwave for 90 seconds, flaked it, opened the slow cooker and … overcooked.  Ho hum.

Still, not a disaster – added the fish, lobbed in some double cream before serving, and hey presto, fennel and smoked trout kedgeree 🙂

I don’t know whether I cooked it too long, or there was insufficient liquid, or whether I should have put the stock in cold (there was hot water in the kettle so I used it).  But it was still very nice, and the cats enjoyed the fish skin!

cabbage and pancetta risotto

As you may recall, we have a bit of a cabbage glut, so I’ve been desperately trying to use them up.  This is what I did on Friday night, and it worked rather well!

Sliced a red onion and sautéd it in some olive oil with a packet of pancetta cubes.  While that was cooking, I made up a pint of chicken stock (using a cube – but it was organic, at least).  Weighed out 5 oz of Arborio rice.  Thinly sliced about 1/3 of a green cabbage.

Added the rice to the onion mix and turned it around till it was coated.  Splashed in some stock, stirred until it was absorbed.  Carried on in this vein until half the stock was gone, then added the cabbage, and some seasoning.  Continued with stock adding and stirring.  Once all the liquor was absorbed, tested for crunchiness and seasoning.  Added some parmesan shavings.