Sunday, 14 March 2010

Preserved Lemon Risotto

This month the Daring Cooks challenge was risotto made with homemade stock. I am no stranger to homemade stock and usually make it in my slow cooker, but I did enjoy the earthy spicing of this one. I chose the preserved lemon variation as I had some in the fridge and I am seriously addicted to it. The risotto is absolutely delicious. As with all risotto recipes, I needed a little more liquid than the recipe stated - and for the preserved lemon I just kept slowly adding some until I had the flavour I was after.
This is my favourite risotto so far. The intense lemon really cuts through the richness of the dish. I paired it with roasted chicken breasts (bone in, skin on), done in the counter-top oven for 45 minutes at 425F with olive oil, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, dried thyme and basil, and a drizzle of the preserved lemon juice. Half way through I added batons of fennel and some asparagus to the pan, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and black pepper. The meal was then served with a simple arugula salad with a leftover citrus vinaigrette. Absolutely delicious. This was a special, and fairly simple, meal.

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.

Daring Risotto
Preparation time:
Stock: 20 minutes prep time, 3 hours cooking.
Pumpkin Risotto: 10 minutes prep time, 20-30 minutes cooking. ,
Lemon Risotto: 10 minutes prep time, 20-30 minutes cooking.

Equipment required:
• 5 Litre stock pot, or other large pan
• knife
• chopping board
• tablespoon
• teaspoon
• sieve
• ladle
• hand blender (optional)
• wooden spoon or other stirring implement
• grater
• saucepans
• measuring cups
• scales

Chicken Stock

1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg
chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg
2 onions, roughly diced
1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced
2 sticks celery, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)
peel of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. allspice

1. Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
2. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
3. Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
4. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
5. Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
6. Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
7. Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. ?The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.

Risotto Base

olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g
Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock, simmering 2 pints 1 L


1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.

Preserved Lemon Risotto

Serves 4 as a starter or light lunch

1 preserved lemon, peel only, finely diced.
1 Tbsp celery leaves, from the heart, finely chopped
3.5 oz /100g unsalted butter chilled and cut into small cubes
2 oz /60g parmesan cheese, grated


1.Make the base until the end of step 8.
2.Stir through the preserved lemon
3.Add the final 100ml of stock and butter and stir until both are completely absorbed. Stir through the parmesan, stick the lid on and let it sit for a few minutes.

I topped mine with fresh thyme when serving. It really paired well with the lemon.