Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Oven Risotto With(out) Madeira

Have some madeira, m'dear
You really have nothing to fear
I'm not trying to tempt you, that wouldn't be right
You shouldn't drink spirits at this time of night

This recipe must have languished in my file for half a decade, since a trip to the island of Madeira from which we brought a bottle of its eponymous sweet, fortified wine. The wine, I think, disappeared at a party years ago. But the recipe caught my eye again this week, as I am on the lookout for dishes that can be prepared in advanced and finished off in the oven. With a baby, this is the only way to eat dinner at a reasonable hour, as I discovered after an early attempt at entertaining saw me plonking the guests in front of the stove while I dealt with an especially grumpy bedtime.

2 small leeks (approx 250g)
1 large onion
100g mushrooms
350g risotto (arborio) rice
1l chicken stock
300ml madeira (I used white wine)
75g grated cheese (the original calls for parmesan, but we only had cheddar, which to my philistine taste worked fine)
thyme, parsley

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Fry chopped leek and onions in a hot, oiled pan for about 10 minutes, stirring.
Add chopped mushrooms and fry for another couple of minutes.
Add rice and stir to coat well.
Add the stock, wine and thyme. Stir. Bring to the boil.
Place uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the liquid has all been absorbed.
Stir in the grated cheese and fresh parsley before serving.

The result was a delicious and quite convincing risotto. You miss out the therapeutic stirring, but gain time to spend with your guests/partner/sofa/put a baby to bed.
The original recipe calls for Madeira, dried porcini mushrooms, parmesan and tarragon, and claims to serves 6 people.
I adapted it to suit the contents of the fridge and cupboards and the two of us managed to polish off the lot in one evening, though if you add another course (or are less greedy) you could probably stretch it between 4. As long as you stick to the ratio of rice and liquid, you could experiment with all sorts of other ingredients.

PS Apologies for the slightly out of focus photo, I was too hungry to take more than one!

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