Daring Cooks Challenge: Risotto

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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.

So, I joined the Daring Cooks Challenge.  Each month, different people host and choose a recipe for the participants in the challenge to make.  You can check out the website here, if you’re interested!  The challenge remains a secret for all but the participants until the 14th of the month, when they are posted.

Well, this month’s challenge is risotto.  Last year, I was obsessed with learning to make risotto, so this is something I’m familiar with!  It’s a bit of work to make, but so much fun, and the results are so amazingly delicious!  You have to stir quite occasionally and stay near the stove… but it’s not that difficult, trust me!  I made my own chicken stock in the slow cooker, and I followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe for roasted mushroom risotto with parsley.  Wow!  Amazing!  The flavor and texture were incredible, and both the husband and I loved it.

The recipe for stock only made about 4 cups.  Next time, I’m going to increase the water, so I have more stock in the end.  If you have leftover stock, you can freeze it in 1 or 2 cup portions and use it when you need it!  It’s a great staple to have in the freezer – much better than boullion and cheaper than store-bought stock.

Jamie’s recipe called for celery in the risotto.  I made it using the celery, but it was a bit firm.  I am going to omit it the next time I make this recipe.  I don’t think it is crucial to the flavour of the risotto, and it will definitely improve the overall texture.

Chicken Stock
Recipe adapted from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow
Makes about 4 cups of stock

1 chicken carcass (I used one that I roasted a few weeks ago and threw in a ziploc bag in the freezer)
1 onion, cut in quarters, with peel
Some celery (I used about 3 or 4 stalks), coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
5 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 head garlic, cut in half
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
6 cups water

The ingredients for chicken stock. As you can see, I left on the peels and cut everything really coarsely.

Put all ingredients into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Let the chicken stock cool completely.  If you want to, at this point, you can dig in with your hands and remove the chicken meat and save it for soup or another recipe (I froze it in a ziploc bag).

Get a fine strainer (or a colander lined with cheese cloth) and strain all of the veggies and bones out of the liquid.  Discard the veggies and bones (they have no flavour now, trust me on this!). 

Refrigerate the stock overnight.  Now, the fat will be solidified and collected on the top of the stock.  Skim the fat off the top.  Now, season your stock to taste, and it’s ready to use!

Try the risotto!  It’s so delicious and indulgent, you’ll love it!

Roasted Mushroom Risotto with Parsley
(risotto ai funghi e prezzemolo)
Recipe from Jamie’s Italy
Serves 6

4 cups of chicken stock (you can substitute veggies stock if you prefer)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
a dollop of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cups risotto (Arborio) rice
2 wineglasses of dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of wild mushrooms, cleaned and torn (if you can’t find wild mushrooms, I used brown mushrooms and they were good!)
olive oil
1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and halved
a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 Tbsp. butter
small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 lemon
5 Tbsp. butter
approximately 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. 

Heat the stock.  Put the first amounts olive oil and butter in a separate pan, add the onion, garlic and celery and cook slowly for 15 minutes, without coloring the vegetables.  When the veggies are softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

The rice will begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring!  After a minute, it will look slightly translucent.  Add the wine and keep stirring. 

Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add a ladle full of hot stock and some salt.  Turn the rice down to a simmer, so it doesn’t cook too quickly.  Once the stock is absorbed, add another ladle full.  Keep stirring the rice, and waiting until all of the stock is absorbed before adding the next ladle.  After about 15 minutes, check the rice to see if it’s cooked.  If not, keep on adding stock until the rice is cooked.  If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, you can add boiling water in place of the stock.

When the rice is getting close to being finished, it’s time to roast the mushrooms.  Heat a heavy, ovenproof frying pan until medium hot and add a splash of oil.  Fry the mushrooms for a minute or two, until they begin to color and season with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic, thyme, and butter and 1 Tbsp. butter and mix together.  Place the pan in the oven and roast the mushrooms for 6 minutes or so, until cooked through and rich in flavor.

When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and add the 5 Tbsp. butter, Parmesan and parsley.  Stir well.  Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes.  Roughly chop half of the roasted mushrooms and stir into the risotto.  Add a good squeeze of lemon juice to balance the flavours.  Season carefully to taste.  Divide between plates and sprinkle the remaining mushrooms on top.  Serve with grated Parmesan to garnish.

Enjoy this treat!
The Hungry Teacher



Filed under Dinner

7 responses to “Daring Cooks Challenge: Risotto

  1. The final risotto looks so creamy and scrumptious well done on this challenge. I love the photo of the stock. I like your idea of leaving out the celery maybe you can fry it up with the onions that would make it softer at the end of the cooking process. Great to hear you are liking the DCs. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Roasted mushroom risotto sounds yummy, great photos!

  3. Congratulations on your first challenge!

  4. Oh my, roasted mushroom risotto sounds better than heaven! Can’t wait to try this one!

  5. Stock in the slow cooker, great idea! Well done on the challenge.

  6. Pingback: Foraging and Risotto « The Hungry Teacher

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