Chef Gerald had a lovely surprise when Mummy opened this week’s fruit and veggies box and found two lovely ears of corn. Corn used to be one of his favourite menu options, and the last few months of seasonal unavailability seem to have only enhanced his passion for it.
The Bistro kitchen wanted to use this as a special treat, in a dish that would display the wonderful crunchiness and sweet flavour at their best. It had also been a very long time since we last made a risotto, so we decided to try our hand/beak at combining the two.
As you may have guessed from several of our previous posts, at present we are also in love with the huge variety of winter leafy greens on offer, and are always on the lookout for new ideas on how to use them. If you have a favourite way of using leafy greens, we’d love to hear it!
Rainbow chard is currently in abundant supply with our veggie suppliers and I absolutely love it. Not only does it look gorgeous, but it’s also very easy to cook (all it really needs are just a few moments in a hot pan in order to preserve the maximum flavour and brightness) and it has a delicious tangy flavour which reminds me of fresh spinach. This isn’t yet seasonally available here, but the Bistro fridge is usually very well stocked with baby spinach instead. In case you’re not familiar with this vegetable, baby spinach comes in cute little leaves that are unfortunately packed in those terribly scary corn-derived bags which rustle a lot and sound like a big monster… But rest assured they’re not actually monsters and, if you’re patient enough, Mummy will open them for you J We find these leaves so delicate that they really don’t require cooking – for maximum flavour, we prefer to rinse and add to the risotto right at the end of the cooking time, so the spinach will wilt when folded into the hot rice.
Mummy is a great fan of cooking risottos in the pressure cooker – they turn out beautifully creamy, they cook in 7 minutes (+ another 10 minutes or so resting time) and, best of all, there’s no need to keep stirring which leaves you with plenty of spare time to play with your parrot in the mean time 🙂
The end result was really yummy and full of different flavours and textures. You can, of course, increase the amount of chorizo you use – we only wanted it to give an earthy undertone to the dish, without detracting from the delicate flavour of the vegetables.
The inspiration for this recipe came from Fine Cooking.
Corn, Rainbow Chard and Baby Spinach Risotto
Kernels from 2 fresh ears of corn
1 bunch rainbow chard, well rinsed, stalks trimmed, leaves roughly chopped
200g baby spinach
1 leek, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
100g chorizo, thinly sliced
2 cups Arborio rice
6 cups good quality (preferably organic) vegetable of chicken stock – you will only need about 3.5 cups if cooking this in a pressure cooker
2 tbsp olive oil
¾ cup white wine
1 bay leaf
6 whole black peppercorns, plus more freshly cracked black pepper to season
100 g Parmesan, finely grated
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Place stock, bay leaf and whole peppercorns into a sauce pan, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low cover and keep simmering.
Wash the baby spinach and spin in a salad spinner to eliminate as much water as possible. Set aside.
Heat a sauce pan (or the pressure cooker if using) over high heat, then add the chopped chard leaves and cook, stirring, for a few moments, until wilted but still vibrant in colour. Remove and set aside.
Drain any liquid left in the pan, heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil, add the chorizo and cook for approximately 2 minutes until browned all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the leek and garlic to the same pan, toss well to combine with the oil, then cook for about 5 – 7 minutes, until the leek softens.
Rinse and drain the rice, then add to the leek, and cook for 1 minute, stirring to ensure the rice is coated in oil. Add the wine and boil rapidly until the wine is reduced by half.
Return the chorizo to the pan and add the corn kernels. If using regular cooking method, start ladling approximately ½ cup of hot stock at a time, stirring frequently. When the liquid is absorbed, add the next batch and repeat the process until the rice has reached your desired creamy consistency. Discard the bay leaf and whole peppercorns before adding stock to the risotto.
If using a pressure cooker, pour approximately 3.5 cups of hot stock over the rice and corn mixture (the ratio should be about 1 ½ parts water to 1 part rice), stir well to ensure nothing has stuck to the bottom of the pan, then lock the lid in place and pressurise. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 7 minutes, then let rest for 10 minutes.
While the risotto is still very hot, fold in the baby spinach, chopped parsley, cooked chard and grated Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 4.