Saturday, 24 September 2011
Mushroom and Chorizo Risotto
So, it’s been a while since I last cooked risotto. I remember cooking it whilst in halls in Hackney. It was the first proper meal I cooked for myself… and others, and probably the last as our kitchen just got messier and messier. The last time I ate risotto, it was almost bad enough experience to put me off for life. A trip to Jamie’s Italian left me with an overly salty taste in my mouth. The squid ink and crab risotto was so packed full of sodium chloride, either from the squid ink, or from over seasoning. It brought up mucus from the back of my throat, the same thing that happens after a dive in the sea. Even after being offered to have another dish cooked for me, I had to refuse. I put me off for a while….
…Until, by request from my brother who is about to leave for university, I was asked to make my mushroom and Parmesan risotto. When the “R” word was mentioned I shivered a little. I hadn’t cooked it for a while, and even though it may not be that hard, how can I cook something if I don’t have the passion or desire to eat it?
As I made a chorizo salad, it came to me: I needed to add something to the dish, something I find taste bud tantalising, and maybe it will lift and distract from the idea of cooking risotto. I have a pork obsession at the moment, and thought of all the different types of pork I could incorporate into the dish: bacon, pancetta, Parma ham, salami… then it hit me… chorizo, the very thing that gave me the inspiration! Not only does it have a beautiful colour, but it also goes well with mushroom and Parmesan. The flavour is strong enough to distract and not as salty compared to other types of ham.
So here’s a recipe for a beautifully colourful and tasty dish. A dish I enjoyed cooking and enjoyed eating even more. I am back on the risotto, and planning on cooking a bacon and stilton risotto next… watch this space.
2 Shallots thinly sliced
2 Gloves of garlic crushed
Half a dozen mini Portobello Mushrooms, roughly chopped
Half a dozen Porcini Mushrooms, roughly chopped
Glass of a good quality white wine
2 pints vegetable stock
As much chorizo as desired, skinned and roughly chopped
1 cup aborio rice
80 ml of full fat crème fresh
As much Grated Parmesan cheese as desired
Handful of chives
Salt & Pepper to season
Heat up a large pan. Pour some oil on the base, and add a knob of butter. Before the butter has completely melted add the shallots and the garlic. Stir constantly till golden brown. Add the mushrooms and allow to realises water and reduces in size slightly.
Add the aborio rice and mix until the rice turns translucent. Add the wine and stir constantly until it is all absorbed. Ladle in the stock, which must be kept simmering at all times. This takes patience. Adding the stock bit by bit, making sure all the liquids have been absorbed before adding the next ladle full, is vitally essential. It is also important that the heat is kept on medium full, as this will ensure evenly cooked rice.
You will know when the rice is done when you push a single grain between your fingers and it gives with ease. Five minuets before you think the risotto is done, add the chorizo to a hot pan with only a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Over cooking the chorizo can make it chewy, we only want to make the outside slightly crispy and to release the oil. Once the rice is done, stir in a few knobs of butter and add the crème fresh, parmesan, chives, and season. Serve and lastly add the chorizo pieces and drizzle with the flavoured oil. The contrast is lovely and it also means there is still some texture to the chorizo. I served with the same white wine I cooked with and a fresh tomato salad.
I took my time over eating it, as I do with most things I enjoy. I even had the left overs for lunch the next day, and simply heated it up in a pan, added a dash of wine and cooked up some chorizo again. It tasted even better the next day ; )