Saturday, 28 September 2013

Some More Brunch: Beetroot Risotto

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I've had a thing for beets since the very first time I saw them nestled in at the Pizza Hut salad bar, glinting conspicuously in the light like purply-pink jewels. But I was a little young then and my palette only stretched as far as croutons and cucumbers. Unfortunately, my memory too had been tainted by the boiled, soggy mass that'd once been served up for "school dinners" (it had proceeded to dye my mash a lucid shade of mauve - I went hungry that lunchtime). So it was only recently when mum bought some home, fresh, that I figured if it looks SO beautiful, there must be a way to make it taste just as good, right?

It didn't take a lot to be honest - once [not soft] boiled, salted and peppered, it's brilliant in salads, as a side or just a snack. So tasty, in fact, that for a long time there was little temptation to experiment at all. But it has fast become a weekly grocery staple and as autumn steers us from summers salad to simmering stews, what better for weekend brunch than a super simple, mega comforting risotto?

What you'll need - 

50g Butter
1 splash Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped
400g Arborio Rice
1.2 l Vegetable Stock (2 Oxo cubes dissolved in the same amount of water does it just fine)
500g Fresh Beetroot
100 ml double cream
 1 Handful Freshly Chopped Dill
Salt & Pepper (& cayenne pepper, entirely optional) to taste
Squeeze of Lemon Juice
2tbsp sugar

What to Do - 

1. Heat the oven to 180C. Peel & trim the beetroots (use kitchen gloves if you don’t want your hands to get stained) and cut into large wedges. Place them on a large sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Then, toss them with 1 tbsp olive oil and seasoning, and cook for 1 hour, or until the beets are soft.

2. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a non-stick pot over a low flame. Don't heat the pot first and then add the butter as it will burn and smell funny. Once the butter's melted, tip in the onion and garlic and cook until slightly translucent and wonderfully caramelised. (N.B. the desired effect is mellow sweetness, not intense flavour).

3. Add the rice, stirring until coated in the butter and then begin adding the vegetable stock, 300 ml at a time. It's important to stir at least once a minute or so and don't be tempted to add all the stock at once. 

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4. When the rice is al-dente, and the beets are well-roasted, remove them from the oven. Whizz ¼ of them to make a purée and then chop the remainder into small pieces. Stir the beetroot purée, chopped beetroot, salt, pepper, lemon juice and sugar ( cayenne optional) through the risotto and leave to bubble for a few moments.   

5. Finally, plate up, top with fresh dill and a dollop of sour cream should you so wish. Don't, no matter what, be alarmed by the vibrant colours on your plate - that's how it's meant to be!  

Now, I know very well that beets are something of a love/hate thing (and let's face it, they do turn out an alarmingly pink risotto) and I'm yet to meet someone who doesn't enjoy a long, lazy brunch. So yes, turning this out on the table may seem a little dicey, as the last thing you want is a less-than-comforting meal. Though I'm in no doubt, if you are perhaps accompany with these twice-baked potatoes, or some Mexican scrambled eggs

Enjoy! SL x

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