Ok Benjamino! You are off to uni in September and are, very wisely, asking about cooking. We have done the mass stew and spag bol learnathon and you know to get meat that works hard as it is cheaper and tastier slow cooked. It releases all those lovely juices that make the food so tasty and even tastier left a day. Perfect for a busy student!
Today we are doing chicken risotto. There are loads of steps you can leave out. I will tell you as I go.
These are shallots which are milder than onions but you can just use any old onion. Chop up a clove of garlic as well. Chuck them in a pan with a tiny bit of oil and fry them slowly, you dont want the garlic to burn, until they start to go see through.
A load of mushrooms, there a about five varieties there but you can use a job lot from the market of whatever mushrooms they have, just make sure they aren’t slimy and old.
OH Ben, this is your worst nightmare. This is the 100 year old stock. Ok not quite but it is pretty old, it has a mother of antiquity but always boil it and freeze it. Keep all your chicken bones if they are free range and lovely, then you chuck it in a pot with veg and simmer for a good while. Or use a stock cube.
Fry some smoked bacon chopped into little bits. You can use pancetta if you are flush although I suspect you never will be. The longer bits in there are the bacon rinds that I have cut off to make little scratchings as a snack. You don’t have to do that. Add the risotto rice and gently fry it for a couple of minutes, let the grains all get covered in a tiny bit of oil.
You chuck in the boiling stock a bit at a time and stir it. There are lots of lessons here, some people say that you have to stir continuously but you don’t although you do have to keep checking and stirring. When it is nearly done throw some cooked chicken in, leftovers from a roast will be perfect. When it was cooked, the rice was mostly soft with just a bit of a bite and there was some oojy sauce surrounding the rice then I chucked in some spinach. You don’t have to do this, don’t be alarmed about how much spinach there seems to be as it shrinks to nothing if you cover the pan and let the spinach steam.
At the very end I chucked some cheese on top, a bit of mascarpone and some cheddar I had knocking about in the fridge. You don’t have to add either or you could put on some Parmesan if you have it. Word of advice. Never buy ready grated Parmesan as it smells of old feet (or your feet!). Buy it in chunks and grate it when you need it.
Finally, it is nice with a bit of salad, I know you don’t like green stuff so note that this is mostly red. Also note that I am using the tomberries we bought last week. Fresh herbs and a bit of chopped red onion are nice on top along with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar just before you eat it.
AS you know presentation isn’t my forte but above is the finished dish. Enjoy, You can do this with any left over meat or sausages or no meat at all.
Our new dishwasher accessory.