Eric! It’s been too long. Life, right? I’m absolutely dismayed to hear your assertion that there aren’t that many great restaurants around your area; I almost refuse to believe it. I expect you to have done some serious searching for when I come visit sometime. I’m glad the produce is so good; now that it’s vaguely wintery (the high today was in the 70s) here we’re back to pale tomatoes. Your bread looks delicious. Now that your finals are over, I demand that you return to your first love: Julia. Have you made boeuf bourguinon lately? Lobster thermidor? Even a humble omlette?
The first dish I want to tell you about is something I made for Thanksgiving. I shunned some of the more traditional Thanksgiving dishes this year; the food at Thanksgiving is so heavy and rich I wanted something a little lighter and with a bit of a kick to it to contribute to the table. My mom and I cooked all sorts of good things, but one of my favorites was squash. I used a recipe from Bon Appetit. It called for kabocha or acorn squash and delicata, but I just used kabocha and acorn with no delicata and I liked it just fine that way. Essentially, it’s just roasted squash that you toss in tahini lemon dressing of sorts. It was wonderful and now I’m putting tahini and lemon on almost everything.
More importantly, though, I finally got around to putting another tool in my culinary wheelhouse (wow, mix metaphors much? …..and yet I’m going to leave it…because I’ll put a tool in a wheelhouse if I want to. AMERICA!) Ugh, fine. Toolbox. Whatever.
What I’m trying to tell you is I now know how to make a pretty delightful risotto. This came in handy as a surveyed my thanksgiving leftovers and thought: what could bring these things together? The answer, in my case, was Arborio rice.
Risotto with Kale, Sweet Potatoes, and Chèvre
2 T butter
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1 sweet potato, baked, cut into cubes
A few good handfuls of kale, cut into roughly bite sized pieces
6 cups of stock
4 oz chèvre (aka goat cheese)
Heat the stock in a small saucepan so that it is ready to be ladled into the risotto (My stock was made from the discarded thigh of the thanksgiving turkey). Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Then, add the rice and stir it around for about a minute until the rice had turns transparent. Add the wine and let it cook for about another minute or until it is mostly absorbed. At this point, it will smell heavenly and you will think “Wow. I am amazing” but really the truth is that cooking wine just smells good….but you are amazing. Add a cup of stock, stirring continuously. Let the stock be absorbed before adding the next one. Continue adding the stock one ladle/cup at a time until the rice is soft but still a bit al dente and has made its own perfectly creamy sauce. Stir in half the chèvre, the kale, and the sweet potato and heat until warmed through. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chèvre on top. Oh! I added a bit of turkey as well, roughly chopped. To tell you the truth, I could have done without the turkey and it would have been just as good.
Oh, Eric. It was so good. So simple. So easy! Please cook lots over the holidays and tell me all about it. Terribly sorry I let a month go by before replying. Everyone sends their best wishes from the Classic City.