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Daring Cooks Challeng March 2010: Risotto

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

This months Daring Cooks' challenge was Risotto.  We were given lots of creativity in making this recipe.  The two mandatory items were making the stock from scratch, and risotto base.

I really enjoyed this challenge because I have been wanting to post a "how to make stock recipe" for some time.   I decided to go with a shellfish stock.  I am in the process of becoming a stock making master thanks to my Thomas Keller book.  His method of ladling the stock out of the pot into the cheese cloth vs dumping it all out into your colander yields such a beautifully clear stock.  No clouds for me!  A couple of quick tips for making stock, always roast your vegetables and bones before you make stock.  Never boil stock, or stir it.  Bring it to a nice simmer, 180-200 degrees.  On a side note, I freeze my bones and shells pretty much year round.  When I have enough bones I whip up stock and freeze it.  It comes in so handy, it's a really valuable and easy skill to have under your belt.

Trying to come up with an idea for risotto was harder than I thought.  I decided to make my base with  a Mirepoix, olive oil, and white wine.  After cooking the rice I mixed in cream, Fontina, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  I gave it a quick taste and added the salt and pepper, chives and lastly the crab.  The end result was like grown up mac and cheese, it tasted great, but in no way shape or form is this recipe good on your waste line.  Thanks for this challenge, fun times.   

Shellfish Stock Ingredients:
  • 6-8 cups shellfish shells (crab, lobster, shrimp)
  • 2 carrots, chopped in thirds
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 celery heart, chopped in half
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh parsley with stems attached
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ dry white wine
  • kosher salt
  • 15 pepper corns
  • cheese cloth
Risotto Ingredients:
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ scant cup carrot, finely chopped
  • ¼ scant cup celery, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • 4-5 cups shellfish stock, heated
  • 1/2 cup cream (next time I make this I will only use a ¼ cup)
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup grated Fontina cheese
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives, plus extra for garnish
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh crab meat, shredded
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Shellfish Stock Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place quartered onion and carrots in a baking dish and lightly coat with olive oil.  Roast the vegetables for about 20 minutes, then take them out and flip them and roast them for another 20 minutes.  In the meantime break up shellfish shells and place them on a cookie sheet.  After the vegetables are done roasting, roast the shells for 7-10 minutes at the same temperature.

Take a large heavy bottom stock pot and place the shells in it, fill stock pot with water.  The water should go about an inch and a half over the top of the shells.  Heat the stock pot over medium heat.  The stock should always simmer between 180-200 degrees.  Do not stir the shells, just wait for them to release small foam bubbles (impurities). 

While you are waiting for the stock to come up to temperature  take a large piece of cheese cloth and make an herb pouch.  Put the parsley, thyme and bay-leaf inside the cheese cloth bouquet.  

Remove the foam with a slotted spoon and slowly add the roasted vegetables to the stock pot.  Try not to move the shells around.  Add the roasted vegetables, celery, herb bouquet, pepper corns, tomato paste.   DO NOT MIX STOCK.

Bring the stock back up to temperature add the white wine and simmer for 45 minutes to no longer than an hour.  Taste stock, add salt if needed.

Line a colander with cheese cloth.  Do not dump the stock onto the colander.  Using a ladle slowly ladle the stock into the colander, try not to disturb the shells.  This takes longer but it will yield a much clearer stock.  After you are finished make and ice bath for the stock, once it is cooled refrigerate it for up to 3 days, freeze for 3 months.

Risotto Method:

Heat a sauce pan over medium to low heat, add the oil.  Add the onion, carrot and celery to pan and cook for a few minutes till it is tender. 

Add the rice and stir it around, to toast it evenly.  Pour in the wine and let it evaporate.

Add about a cup of stock stir constantly till it is absorbed.

Add another cup and repeat till the Risotto is soft and creamy (the rice will no longer be hard to bite).

When the Risotto is soft, mix in the cream, cracked pepper and add the cheese.

Taste for salt.  Add the chopped chives and right lastly mix in the crab.

Serve in a small bowl or dish and garnish with chives, and a nice glass of wine.  Enjoy

If you have left over Risotto you can make fried Risotto patties the next day.  For each cup of left over Risotto add one egg and a half of cup of dried bread crumbs.  I formed mine in to little patties and put a little cube of mozzarella cheese in the middle of each one.  Fry them in a 1/4 cup of oil about three minutes per side and enjoy!


JediAaron said...

First time having Risotto, and having always wondered how it would taste - I was both amazed and very happy. Great flavor! :)

Lauren said...

Such pretty risotto! It looks incredibly creamy and delicious =D.

Anonymous said...

Nice step-by-step pictures! Good job!

Mama Sarah said...

It sounds tasty; I'll definitely have to give your version a try!

Audax said...

Absolutely love the look of your risotto and thanks for all the great tips on making stock. But those patties look so scrumptious and I love that cheese oozing from the centre. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia. Great step-by-step pixs also.

Valérie said...

Thanks for sharing the shellfish stock recipe, that's something I've been wanting to try making. And I love you step-by-step pics of the risotto-making process. It looks delicious!

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