Risotto

Onion and rosemary risotto with Marsala

rosemaryrisotto3

I don’t make risotto – all that standing and stirring is too boring and laborious for me. I get impatient and try to add the stock too quickly…my arm hurts. Luckily though my husband Ben is a risotto king. It has become his special dish which he makes for me with love and care when I ask him very nicely and give him plenty of notice (having first checked the weather forecast as standing stirring over a hot stove in the heat is not fun).

This very simple sounding risotto from Lindsey Bareham has become my new favourite – knocking beetroot risotto off the top spot. Prior to that it hand been a James Martin smoked haddock and black pudding one.

The combination of onion and rosemary with the sweet Marsala produces the most heavenly rich flavour. You won’t believe me until you’ve tried it.

Marsala is widely available in supermarkets, look for it in the ‘fortified wine’ section. It also makes a nice aperitif, served cold with ice.

Stirringrisotto

The master teaching the son.

Lindsey Bareham’s onion and rosemary risotto with Marsala

  • 2 ½ medium sized onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 75g of butter
  • 250g Arborio rice
  • 1 small glass of Marsala (or Madeira works well too)
  • Approximately 1 litre of hot chicken or vegetable stock (homemade is always best but a good ready made stock will still be nice)
  • 50g of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Fry the ½ of the onion in hot vegetable oil until crisp and drain on some kitchen roll. These are for the crispy onion garnish which is essential.

Melt 50g of butter in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the rest of the onions seasoned with ½ teaspoon of salt. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes until limp.

Stir the rosemary into the onions. Add the rice and cook with the onion for a couple of minutes until the rice is semi-translucent.

Then add the Marsala and let it bubble away into the rice stirring all the time as it does.

Now for the laborious bit.

Add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and not adding the next ladleful until the rice has absorbed almost all the liquid. You may need to turn the heat down a bit so that you have a nice gentle simmer. The whole process will take around 30 minutes in total. At the end the risotto will have a creamy like consistency and the rice should be soft with a slight bite in the middle. If when you have used up all the stock the rice is still not cooked keep adding a little more hot water until it is done.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the remaining butter and cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper and a little sugar. Cover the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with the garnish of crispy fried onions and extra Parmesan if you like.

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Spanish rice with chicken and chorizo

spanishchickenrice

I don’t know about you but I always get terribly confused in the period between Christmas and New Year. Today I’ve got absolutely no idea what day of the week it is – all I know is that New Year’s Eve is tomorrow (but only because my friend just phoned to remind me of the party details). Football matches are on Thursdays and Sundays, not Saturdays as usual. Even the order of the day is a blur as we’re not eating proper meals at normal breakfast, lunch and dinner times but rather grazing throughout the day on bits of cheese, chocolate and other rubbish like small cold sausages. And then there’s the drinking, not as much as when we were childless, but at least a little every day and not just wine and beer but whisky, champagne, port and other headache inducing beverages. It’s sort of fun but then part of me (the grown up part) is desperate to get back to some sort of normality on January 2nd.

For those of you who are as disorientated as me, but who would like to eat at least one proper meal over the Christmas period, I offer you this delicious and terribly easy dish. It has the comfort factor of a risotto but with absolutely no stirring.

This is for my very good friends Claire and Ed who I fed well and then poisoned with Speaker Bercow’s whisky. I hope you are feeling better now.

Spanish rice with chicken and chorizo

Serves 4

  • 3 large skinless chicken breasts cut into quarters
  • 1 sweet pointed red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 100g chorizo, cut into smallish chunks
  • ½ an onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • ½-1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 860ml chicken stock
  • 250g paella rice
  • 1 large tablespoon of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Take the pieces of chicken and marinade with ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon of salt, half the juice of one lemon, a dash of olive oil and a few twists of the pepper mill. Cover and leave in the fridge for the flavours to mingle. I like to do this for at least an hour but if you’re in a rush then you could leave for less.

Heat the oven to 180oC fan.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a broad shallow pan (mine is a cast iron and oven proof Le Creuset 26cm in diameter). When the oil is very hot add the chicken and brown on all sides. You don’t need to cook the chicken through but you do need to make sure that it is a nice golden colour. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the peppers and chorizo to the same pan and cook until the fat starts to run out of the chorizo and the peppers start to soften. Then add the onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika and chilli flakes. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.

Pour in the rice being careful to distribute it evenly around the pan. Then add the chicken pieces evenly over the top. At this stage the pan will be very full so be careful not to spill the stock as you transfer it to the oven. Cook uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

To serve scatter with chopped parsley and the remaining lemon juice. Don’t miss out this part as it really elevates the dish.

Note: If you are feeling fancy and have access to nice fresh seafood (which is unfortunately difficult for us in Nottingham being about as far away from the sea as you can get) then you could add prawns, squid or mussels before putting in the oven.