Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Saturday, April 9th - Borcht (Beet) Risotto

Beet Risotto
I love Beets.  They're right up there behind Brussel Sprouts.  As a kid, I rarely had either.  They weren't a regular staple in Korean cuisine.  Because of the frequent vilification of these tastey veg on sitcoms and cartoons, I had assumed I should hate them.  It was years before I gave them a fair shake.  When I did, I was hooked.  My fave are the small pickled baby ones you can buy jarred in the UK.  The regular sliced ones in tins are the ones we regularly find in the market here and they aren't the best representation of the yummo Beet.  Fresh Beets are so much better and there is something inherently healthy feeling about anything they're served with like this Risotto.  Next to my sunny yellow Lemon Sage Risotto, it might make it as one of my favourites.  Do not use tinned or jarred preserved Beets for this recipe.  The brine will change it completely.

Borcht (Beet) Risotto

Serves 2-3

1 l Vegetable Stock, unsalted
1 c Aborio or Carnoli Rice
2 T Olive Oil
1 med-large Red Beet (raw, size of a baseball)
1 small-med White Onion
1 Bay Leaf
3 sprigs fresh Thyme
1-2 t dried Dill (1 big sprig fresh, chopped)
1 T fresh Chives, chopped
1 c Red Wine
1/2 c Butter
1/2 c Parmesan, grated, plus additional for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/3 c Low Fat Sour Cream
Steamed Asparagus (Optional)


Bring the Stock to a boil in a sauce pan.  Reduce immediately and keep warm to the side.

Clean and carefully peel the Beet and chop into chunks.  Boil in 1 c of the Veg Stock with 1/4 of the Onion, roughly chopped.  Cook to a point a knife easily pierces the Beet. 15-20 minutes.  Run through a blender or processor and set aside.

In a large pan, heat Olive Oil and sautee the rest of the Onion, diced. Add the Rice.  You may want to add another T of Olive Oil.  You want all the Rice to glisten.  Add the Bay Leaf and Thyme.  Stir for 1-2 minutes.  Add the Wine and stir, stir, stir with a wooden spoon until it is virtually all evaporated.  Like all Risottos, add the Stock a ladel at a time stirring constantly until you can draw your wooden spoon down the pan and the 'mote' doesn't immediately close up.  You may not use all the Stock.  It depends on the Rice and how you like your Rice done.  It is better to have more to start so you're not racing to heat up more half way through.

Continue to add the Stock until you feel the Rice has the bite you prefer.  Add the pureed Beet to the pan. As other Risottos, add the Parmesan and incorporate.  Add the Butter to the pan in cut up pats over top.  Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.  In a 'regular' Risotto, you'd also add another ladel of Stock at this point but the Beets have the additional liquid you need. Season to taste but only toward the end about this point.  Remember you may have salt in your Stock and that the Parmesan is salty.

Serve with a dollop of Sour Cream and Chives.  Sooo good! It tasted and felt light and healthy despite having the same amount of Butter and Cheese as all rich Risottos.  MMMMM


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1 Leave a / Read COMMENTs:

The Mom Chef said...

Borscht risotto. What an epiphany! I'm glad you said something about not using tinned beets because I might have just tried that today since I don't have a fresh one. Thanks for saving me from disaster. I will be trying it thought!