Risotto with Swiss Chard and Italian Sausages…

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When judgment day comes and someone high up in the angelic ranks is weighing everything in the balance, risotto will be marked down as one of the dishes that mankind got right. It is almost fool-proof….as long as you are patient soul. It rewards you with one of the most flavoursome, fulfilling dished that has ever hit a plate-anywhere!

This was lunch today. It was a joy to make and a pleasure to consume. It hit every spot that Eros has thought about.

You may have worked out by now that I am navigating my way through a marvellous book by the wonderful Gino D’acampo and this is my take on his risotto al radicchio rosso e salsiccia. I was fresh out of radicchio but I substituted some sumptuous red swiss chard that was passing the time of day in my fridge. It was a great substitute.

For 4

2 tbsps olive oil

6 Italian sausages or ant really good bangers, skins removed

1 onion finely chopped

2 celery sticks finely chopped

400 gm arborio rice

100 ml white wine

1 litre of chicken stock

150 gm frozen peas

4 leaves of swiss chard finely sliced – or half a head of radicchio – in fact if you were struggling, a bag of spinach would do

125 gm butter

80 grams of grated Parmesan

Black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil and 25 gm of butter in a large sauté pan on a high heat and add the sausage. Fry until golden brown, breaking it up along the way with a wooden spoon. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with kitchen paper and keep warm.

2. In the same pan, add the onion and celery and fry gently for 2 minutes. Add the rice and allow to toast in the pan for 3 minutes. Stir continuously and then pour in the wine. Continue to cook for a further minute.

3. Add 2 ladles of the hot stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Continue doing this for about 15 minutes – adding a ladle of stock, stirring continuously each time until it has been absorbed. It will be ready when all the stock apart from a ladleful has been absorbed and the rice is al dente.

4. Add the peas and chard, or whatever you are using, and add a final ladle of stock – remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan. Once the butter has melted, add three quarters of the cooked sausage and stir in. 

5. Serve straight away on plates and add a little drizzle of olive oil to each and a smattering of black pepper.

 A winner of a dish for a Sunday…indeed any day.

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Thaiella…an experiment in pork and rice…

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Thaiella...an experiment in pork and rice...

Right. tonight I had a pork tenderloin in the fridge and several ingredients left over from a Thai dish I did last weekend. I had no basmati rice but I did have a bag of bomba paella rice. And I had a glass of 2001 Gran Fabrica Carinena to inspire me. Well, I had a little more than a glass….

I knew I fancied something spicy and something warming. I puzzled and then decided. A Thai Paella!

I sliced the pork tenderloin into medallions. Popped them in a dish with 1 red chilli deseeded and finely chopped. 1 thumb sized piece of ginger peeled and chopped. 2 stalks of lemon grass. A handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) chopped. Some black pepper and a little rock salt. This mix I left to cogitate for half an hour.

I then put my large sauté pan on a low heat and added olive oil and a chopped clove of garlic. I let it sizzle quietly for a moment or two, then added 8 halved baby plum tomatoes. I let it fry gently for another two minutes. Then I added the pork mix. The heat went up and I stirred it as the pork medallions coloured.

Meanwhile, I made 500 gm of vegetable stock and measured out 250 gm of paella rice.

After the pork had been in the pan for 10 minutes I added the rice and the vegetable stock….and a pinch of saffron for effect.

I brought it all to a good simmer, turned the heat down low and let it gently bubble for 15 minutes. You want the rice to be al dente, so you may need to add a little more hot water at the end and leave it just as long as it takes to get the rice to your liking.

Take it off the heat, remove the lemon grass, add more fresh chopped coriander and let it stand for about 5 minutes.

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This was an experiment that worked and one I will repeat for sure. Fragrant, spicy and soothing.

My kids thought it was one of the best pork dishes they had tasted. That was good enough for me!

IMG_4958Tonight’s sous chef…..most helpful and inspiring!