Jeanette - Off The Cuff

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Blogger at: and -- My name is Jeanette, and I was born in Sweden, but unlike the famous Muppet, I am not a professional Swedish Chef. I actually studied design and photography. I also was a freelance indie-rock critic for several magazines from 1998-2005, and had an in-house PR company for a while. Cooking is in my DNA--my dad's brother was a chef and their father was a pastry chef, my mom's mother was a caterer, who published a cookbook of traditional Finnish breads and pastries when she was 92. Everyone else in my family loves to cook, and we're not afraid to experiment. I have a yen for interior design and remodeling.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Almond-Fig Brown Rice Risotto

I think risotto is something that I always enjoy at restaurants, and even though it’s a fairly easy concept, I’ve generally avoided making it.  Why? I don’t know.  But I recently read a good risotto recipe over at Butter And Onions: Pea and Bacon Risotto, plus I had these figs, and sometimes I just say something out loud to see if it sounds good.  So I said “Fig risotto. Hmm… why not?”  I scoured around the internet to find comparable recipes, and found a few, but for most of them, I lacked other critical ingredients, so I basically just gleaned the basic cooking technique from reading several recipes, and came up with this.  My technique may not have been totally authentic, but the end result was savory and really good.

fig-risotto 001INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup whole raw almonds, chopped up
2-4 tbsp butter

5 fresh figs, stems cut off, washed, and diced up
1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 1/2 cups brown rice (or traditional arborio rice)
3-4 cups water
1 tbsp “Better than Bouillon” chicken stock
1/2 cup cream
1 oz white wine
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Peccorino or Parmigiano

DIRECTIONS: fig-risotto 002
Since I used brown rice in this recipe, which takes a lot longer to cook, I was afraid of it being very under-cooked if I simply followed a traditional risotto technique.  Therefore, I decided to precook it about half way in a rice cooker.  

I started up my chicken bouillon with the rice & water in the rice cooker. 

While that was going on, I sautéed my almonds in about 2 tbsp butter in a cast-iron skillet, until they were nice and golden and aromatic. 

fig-risotto 003   fig-risotto 004

I added my diced onion in, and continued sautéing until the onion was almost translucent, and at the tail end, dumped in my diced figs, and the white wine.  When the figs were cooked just a tiny bit, I turned off the heat, and set aside this mixture in a separate bowl.fig-risotto 005
fig-risotto 006 Once the rice approached a nearly cooked state, I added a little more butter to my skillet, and scooped in the parboiled rice filling up the bottom of the skillet.  I cooked this on medium heat until it started to stick to the skillet, and then poured in the remaining bouillon water from my rice cooker about 1/2 cup at a time until it was absorbed.  Since that didn’t seem to be enough liquid, I added about another 3/4 cup water into the skillet, and kept letting it absorb as the rice was cooking.  Towards the end, I stirred in 1/2 cup cream, the fig-mixture, and about 1/4 cup grated cheese, and a dash of nutmeg. fig-risotto 007





1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. I am going to have to try and make that sometime!