I love risotto, as a result we usually have it once a week, Risotto is so flexible, it’s a great way of cooking up a tasty meal with bits of left overs or when you don’t have much in the cupboard, on the other hand you can make it really luxurious by chucking in loads of wild mushrooms or fantastic cheeses.
It’s also really easy, the trick is to keep it moist enough with out flooding it and take it off the heat just before it’s cooked as it will continue to cook while you add the cheese etc.
Normally I’d make it with white wine but I’ve been known to use red wine or lemon juice on occasion so I thought I would give it a go with beer. I wasn’t sure which beer to use, I think quite a lot of styles would work, normal bitter would add a nice bitter sweet character, stout would give it a bit of depth which would be perfect with venison or even some seafood. In the end I went for a bottle of Belgian Ale, in the hope that it would add a little bit of spice and freshness to the dish. Looking back it worked quite well but next time I am definitely going to try a bottle of Saison.
Serves 2 hungry people.
- 80g of risotto rice.
- 1 small red onion finely sliced or diced
- 1/2 red pepper, sliced
- 4 thick slices of smoked bacon, chopped.
- Small handful of peas.
- 8 or so chestnut mushrooms, depending on size, sliced.
- Glug of olive oil
- 400ml of chicken stock.
- 1 bottle of beer.
- 4 tablespoons parmesan
- handful of gruyere or similar cheese (optional)
- Balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- Add a glug of olive oil to a hot saucepan and add the sliced bacon, fry until crispy then drain on some kitchen paper. Discard fat and set bacon aside in a bowl.
- Give the pan a quick wipe to remove any fat, add a small glug of olive oil, fry your mushrooms, onion and pepper, once softened add to the bowl with your bacon.
- Keeping the pan hot, tip in your risotto rice and stir until it starts to crackle a little, tip in a big glug (about a wine glass full) of your beer and stir.
- Once the risotto starts to dry out, add a splash of your chicken stock and stir,keep adding the stock as the risotto starts to dry out, you will notice the rice puff up and start to soften, keep checking until the rice is soft but still has a little bit of bight, you don’t want it to go too soft. You’re looking for a nice creamy consistency, not too sloppy and not to firm.
- Tip your bacon and veg along with the peas in and give it a stir.
- Remove from the heat.
- Add the cheese and stir well.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Serve with a drizzle of balsamic , some garlic bread and with the rest of the beer (in a glass not on the plate)