Sunday, January 18, 2009
Risotto with borlotti beans and chorizo
Not entirely convinced that, strictly speaking, this is risotto though it does follow the conventions of that dish softening garlic and onions in butter and oil, then coating vialone nano in the oil before adding wine and then ladles of hot stock. But as well as the rice it has borlotti beans that have been soaked to swell them, then cooked before they are added, with the liquid that they were cooked in, to the pan with the rice and all that lovely starchy bean flavouring is incorporated into the finished dish. Obviously risotto is Italian, and chorizo is not - so that too gives me pause on the naming front.
Whatever you call it this is a lovely dish, rich and soothing with gradations of texture and flavour from the beans and the chorizo.
'Risotto' with borlotti beans and chorizo
3/4 cup borlotti or other speckled beans, soaked overnight
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g chorizo, skinned and chopped coarsely
1 1/2 cups Italian short-grain, such as arborio, vialone nano, or carnaroli rice
1/2 cup well-flavored dry white wine
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Drain the soaked beans then put them into a saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook on a very low heat, covered, until the beans are tender—about 45 minutes. Add a little more boiling water from time to time if necessary. About five minutes from the end add some salt. When the beans are done, set aside, but do not drain.
Bring the stock to a simmer in another pan.
In a large saucepan, melt half the butter with the olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, over a low heat until the onion and garlic are softened, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the chopped chorizo and the rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the bits of chorizo are softened and the rice is well coated with the fat in the pan.
Add the white wine, raise the heat slightly, and cook rapidly until the rice has absorbed the wine.
Stir in the beans with their cooking liquor and continue cooking until most of the bean liquid has been absorbed.
Add a ladle or two of the simmering stock, stirring to mix well. As the rice absorbs the broth, keep adding more, a ladle or two at a time, stirring pretty much continuously, until the rice is just cooked all the way through and the dish is creamy.
When the rice is done but still al dente, remove from the heat, taste and add season. Then stir in the 2 tablespoons of cheese and the rest of the butter.
Cover the pan and set aside, away from the heat, for 5 minutes or so to combine all the flavors well.
Serve in deep bowls.
Perfect Sunday night winter dish.
I had everything to make this at home - stock and chorizo in the freezer and the rest in the cupboard - but it would be cheap to enough to make. Around £5 I'd hazard, and you have the rest of the sauvignon blanc to drink, which puts it into a different budget!