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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.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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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.


Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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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]

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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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.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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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.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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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.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.


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March 2016

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