Maus and I are always in a dilemma about what to have for dinner. Being the proud owner of a blog, I feel a need to try different things. Maus, on the other hand, feels no such burden. She is happy to have whatever I give her. And if she is cooking, baked beans, an omelette or rissoles will do just fine. Clearly, it is a balancing act between the two.
The other night, I asked the dreaded question, to which Maus replied, “Something light.” “But I need something new for my blog”, I lamented. Out came the cookbooks. I chose this recipe because it fitted the ‘Something light” criterion, we have plenty of beetroot in the garden and there has been feta in the fridge far longer than is good for it. A quick review of the recipe and I was sold. We had everything listed and it looked really easy. I was particularly interested in the fact that Gary does not add the stock a little at a time, stirring all the while. Rather, he adds all the stock in one go and only stirs it at the end of the cooking.
I thought the risotto was great. It certainly looks very specky. As an added bonus, it could easily be made vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
This recipe is from Gary Mehigan’s Comfort Food. The recipe serves 2 as a main or 4 as an entrée.
- 2 medium-sized beetroot or 3 small ones
- 500 mils chicken stock
- 60g unsalted butter
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- salt & ground white pepper
- 200g Arborio rice
- 100mils white wine
- about 60g crumbly feta
- basil to serve (optional). (As it is the middle of winter here, I didn’t have any, so dried basil it was.)
- Preheat your oven to 160°C.
- Place the beetroot on a tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and a little dried basil (if desired) and roast for 40 minutes or until tender.
- Peel the beetroot. Cut one third of the beetroot into 1cm cubes. Puree the balance.
- Bring the stock to the boil then set aside.
- Melt 30g of butter in a sauté pan. Cook the onion and garlic until soft and translucent then add 1 teaspoon of salt*.
- Add the rice and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the wine and allow it to reduce.
- Add the boiling stock all at once and bring to a simmer.
- Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the beetroot puree and cook for a further 2 minutes over low heat. If your rice is not quite cooked, add a bit of water (or extra stock, if you have it) cover and cook for an extra 5 minutes, then test again.
- Add the remaining butter and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve risotto sprinkled with cubed beetroot, feta and fresh basil (if using).
*NB: If you are using commercial stock or you have already added salt to your stock, you may not need this much salt.