When I thought about sharing this meal with you, I couldn’t work out whether to call it, boringly, Lovely Leftovers – III (I think, is next) or this – Rollicking Risotto. Well, I decided on the latter because although this dish is made with left-overs, it’s warm and comforting and perfect for a cold winter’s evening. and far too nice to be relegated to being just “leftovers”.
The lamb leftovers, came from a special dinner to wish a good friend well and Godspeed on a new journey in her life. She, with her daughter and another special friend, joined us. We had a traditional roast lamb (except, of course, it was done on the Weber), accompanied by roast potatoes and butternut that had been cooked under the meat, green beans and gravy made with the stock from the beans and the drippings from the roast. I had a ball doing a pretty table in honour of the occasion and the guest of honour had insisted, as is her wont, on bringing her speciality for dessert: Dutch apple pie. Who was I to argue?
Anyway, back to the leftovers. No-one feels like cold meats and salads in the middle of winter, and there was plenty of meat left over. Enough for two meals, and for the first, because there was also plenty of the lovely, rich gravy left, I decided to make a risotto type dish. It’s not a “proper” risotto because this dish doesn’t include cheese.
Here’s what I do when I make this “almost” rollicking risotto:
Sautée a chopped onion in a goodly amount of olive oil and then add a clove of garlic, also chopped. When the onion is transparent, add the requisite quantity of risotto (arborio) rice (about roughly two-thirds of a cup) and stir in, ensuring that the rice is well coated with olive oil. Then add about a wine glass’s worth of dry white wine.* At the same time, add about half a green bell pepper, chopped, two carrots, also chopped, and because I had some, I added diced brinjal and chopped mushrooms.
Using what was left of the gravy, diluted with some boiling water to make a “stock”, I gradually added this to the what was already in the wok – just the same way as one would when making an ordinary risotto. Little by little, the liquid was absorbed by the rice, until it was glossy and cooked.
It does take quite a while to cook a risotto, and one must pay it attention to make sure it doesn’t stick, but it really is worth it.
Once the rice was cooked I flung in a handful of frozen peas and supper was ready!
Although I am mostly a white wine drinker, this meal (and winter) shouts for a red, so we opened a bottle from the rack – from the local eponymous cellar – a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon.
© Fiona’s Favourites 2015
*You could use red wine for this dish because it ends up quite dark, but I prefer not to because the colour can be quite unappetising.