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.
The thing about challenges… oh wait, I’ve already done that one. Heh. This is my first Daring Cooks challenge, and its poking me right where it hurts. After seeing the previous challenges, and even trying one as a test, I was really hoping to try making some new crazy cuisine. Instead, I’ve been put face to face with my nemesis: risotto.
I’m not hating on risotto, but I really haven’t had much success making it. Honestly, I sometimes think it’s O.K. the day I make it, and then HATE it for leftovers and never want to see it again. I’ve tried it a few times, and have hated it every time.
This is the perfect thing for me to start with.
I’m supposed to be challenged, right? It’s supposed to be at least a little bit hard, and sometimes frustrating. It’s supposed to be a learning experience. So I have jumped into it wholeheartedly. What did I learn? That my old risotto recipe sucks (yup), but that I am still not excited to make risotto (fair enough). My attempt came out pretty good, and I chose some accompaniments that nicely brought out the flavour and accented the texture of the dish. Not bad! That said, I wasn’t brimming with the same pride I had after trying the salmon en croute, or the indian or ethiopian feasts.
A great learning experience, indeed, and definitely a successful meal.
Part of the challenge was to make the stock from scratch, and while the recommended stock was made with a whole chicken, that would not be the route I would take. Not being a real meat person, I opted to make a mushroom stock, which turned out really tasty! It added a nice woody flavour to the dish. I got inspiration from this recipe, but ended up choosing my own adventure for most of it.
So there is the result of my first challenge. It was a good learning experience, which is what I am looking for with the challenges, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we do next month!
Recipe for the base risotto after the jump…
- 4tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, quatered
- 1 3/4c risotto rice (I used Arborio, but they also suggested Vialone Nano, Carnaroli, etc.)
- 4tbsp white wine
- 4cups chicken or vegetable stock (I kept this simmering on the stove as I cooked – I heard warm stock makes a better risotto)
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.