Tuesday, 24 May 2016

'Dirty' Risotto

Dirty rice is a traditional Cajun dish where the white rice gets a "dirty" colour from being cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets, (bell) pepper, celery, onion (the so-called Cajun Holy Trinity of ingredients and spices. Most common in the Cajun regions of southern Louisiana and Mississippi it can apparently also be found in other areas of the American South.

I’ve never had Dirty Rice so I don’t know if this recipe, adapted from one by Giada De Laurentiis (an Italian American TV chef whose culinary work is as oft criticised as lauded - as is often the case with ‘celebrity’ chefs it would seem) tastes like it. It appealed to me though: risotto (natch) with lots of meaty and savoury elements. Heart, oozy, and basically very tasty.

‘Dirty’ Risotto
serves 3

750ml chicken stock
15g butter
190g Italian sausage, removed from skin & crumbled
85g pancetta cubes
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ orange bell pepper, diced
1-2 tbsps jalapenos (from a tin), de-seeded & finely chopped
75g mushrooms, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
150g Arborio rice
90ml dry vermouth
25g Parmesan cheese + extra to serve
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a small pan, heat chicken stock to a simmer and turn right down to keep warm.

Meanwhile melt the butter in a large saucepan and when it starts to foam brown the sausage meat and pancetta over a medium-high heat, breaking the sausage down so it resembles coarse mince.

When nicely browned and starting to caramelise add the vegetables, turn the heat down and cook over a low heat until the veg has softened.

Turn the heat back up to medium high, stir in the rice and keep stirring for a minute to allow the rice to lightly toast.

Turn the heat up to high and pour in the vermouth: it will bubble up angrily - keep stirring until it has almost absorbed. Turn the heat back down again to medium-low.

Add a ladleful of stock to the rice and stir occasionally until it has absorbed. Repeat, a ladleful at a time, ensuring each is almost absorbed before adding the next.

Once the rice is tender and the texture of the risotto is quite gloopy, turn off heat and stir in the cheese. Cover and leave off the heat for 5 minutes then stir in the parsley.

Serve with a rocket & cherry tomato salad on the side and a little parmesan and parsley scattered over.

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