Sunday, 14 March 2010

Daring Cooks do Risotto

This month we were given a dish I had no problems at all getting my family keen to try as they all like it very much ! Another Naturally gluten free dish as well !

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

We were required to make our own stock and risotto base but after that were free to do whatever flavours we wanted and as usual the Daring Cooks made many wonderful and varied varieties.

I decided to do a fairly simple version partly so I could see what the risotto was like without masking it to much with other strong favours and partly to make sure all the family members would like it. As a result I chose to do chicken and peas.

Stock seasonings
I liked the stock, the cinnamon gave it as subtle twist I'm not used to but I liked it.
Here is the basic recipe for the stock.

Chicken Stock
1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg
chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg
2 onions, roughly diced
1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced
2 sticks celery, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)
peel of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. allspice
  1. Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
  2. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
  3. Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
  4. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
  5. Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
  6. Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
  7. Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 
The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.
Bowls ready to serve.
We all really liked this and will happily have it again. I think it is only the second time I have ever made risotto but I really am going to try and make it a much more common dish on our menu as it really isn't hard and is very good.

 Risotto Base

olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g
Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L
  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
  2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
  3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
  5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
  7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
  8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.
After this I added the rest of the stock and
unsalted butter 3.5 oz 100g chilled and cut into small cubes.

Let these  combine in properly and then added
parmesan cheese, grated 2 oz 60g
a good amount of chicken taken off from the stock chicken
about a 1.5 cups of peas.

Serve in bowls.