Thursday, 28 July 2011

Risotto with braised celery

The last risotto post I did seems to be popular, so I thought I'd do another. This time, however, I used a proper homemade stock and a good slug of decent wine because I wanted to try and get the best flavour possible.

I started with softening some finely chopped onion in butter. I used half a smallish onion for a risotto for two. After it had softened for a few minutes over a medium-high heat I added the risotto rice - in this instance Arborio. That got turned over for a couple of minutes to get well coated in the butter, then I added a small glass of dry white wine. I used Pinot Grigio, it seems apt to use a Italian wine.

This got stirred for a couple of minutes and then I started adding the stock.

I used the stock I'd kept from preparing a gammon. All this involved was boiling a gammon joint with stock veg - carrot, onion and celery - along with some bay leaf and a few black peppercorns. I finished the gammon off in the oven with a mustard and brown sugar glaze. It was delicious and was great in sandwiches for lunch. I simply strained the stock and froze it for future use.

After getting the risotto underway I started to braise the celery, using a method I got from Delia online. Very simply, just some softened onions, chopped celery, a hint of sugar and some of the gammon stock. Delia's recipe includes other veg and there's no reason why you couldn't use whatever you fancy. Fennel would be good.

The celery continued to braise whilst I kept adding stock to the risotto, stirring all the while.

Towards the end I added some frozen peas into the last of the stock, warming them through before adding them to the risotto. Adding frozen peas straight into the risotto would cool it down too much I think. Whilst there was still a little stock unabsorbed by the rice I added a good handful of grated parmesan and some chopped parsley. Then I put the lid on the pan and let the risotto settle for a couple of minutes.

All that I had to do then was serve. Risotto, then braised celery and some of the rich braising liquor. A little bit more parmesan and it was done. It seemed to go down well with the missus, and the braised celery went really nicely, especially with the braising juices which added a nice depth to the overall taste. The Pinot Grigio that hadn't gone into the risotto went nicely with it as well.

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