“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness.”
― Eli Brown, Cinnamon and Gunpowder
Risotto is one of my favourite comfort foods. All that lovely flavour in a one-bowl meal! Chorizo sausage is usually spiced with garlic, wine, herbs, dried red peppers or smoked paprika and sometimes chilli. It gives a heartiness to this humble rice dish, and the flavours are earthy and spicy without being too hot. The recipe can be made for a week-night family dinner, but it’s fancy enough to serve when friends come to visit. It also reheats well if you are lucky enough to have leftovers.
The secret to a good risotto is to warm your stock, add it to your rice ladle by ladle full, and to give it a regular and thorough stir as it is cooking. It’s also worth the trouble to use some arborio rice (readily available in supermarkets and delicatessens). Arborio rice will soak up all that liquid without becoming mushy.
If you don’t want to use wine in this recipe, simply substitute another cup of stock. Cooking time is about 20 minutes for the risotto, plus however long it takes to pre-cook your sausages – mine took ten minutes.
Like things hot? Add a good dash of Tabasco sauce or some fresh chilli. I haven’t listed these as ingredients. We serve Tabasco and chilli on the side so that those who don’t enjoy things spicy can eat their risotto without calling the Fire Brigade to attend to their burning mouth. 🙂
This recipe will serve four. With careful sausage selection (ask your butcher or read sausage ingredients carefully) it is a lovely gluten-free meal!
250 grams arborio rice, one large onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 6 nice fat fresh chorizo sausages – about 500 grams (or your choice of other good quality flavoursome sausages), one fresh cob of corn, one medium ripe red capsicum (bell pepper), 1 bunch of fresh coriander, zest of one lemon, 750ml (3 cups) of good quality chicken stock, 250ml of white wine, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves (optional), a heaped tablespoon of pine nuts, a heaped tablespoon of slivered almonds, some grated or shaved parmesan.
Place a large heavy-bottomed frypan over medium heat and toast your pine nuts and almonds for a few minutes until browned. Stir often and watch them carefully as they will burn quickly once they reach a certain point. Remove from heat and empty onto a plate until later.
Return pan to heat.
Put a tablespoon of oil in a heavy bottomed pan and cook your sausages over medium heat until cooked through. Turn occasionally so that they brown on all sides.
While they are cooking prepare your other vegetables.
Remove the husk and silk from the ear of corn and use a sharp knife to remove kernels from cob. Chop the red capsicum into small pieces and shred your coriander and basil. Set half of the chopped coriander aside as a garnish when the meal is done.
Chop your onion finely and chop or crush your garlic cloves.
When sausages are cooked, remove them from the pan and let cool slightly. Then slice into rounds and set aside. Leave around a tablespoon of fat from the sausages in the pan, and pick out any burnt bits as they make the dish taste bitter. The fat will have coloured from the paprika and spices. Don’t panic. It’s supposed to look orange.
Place your stock on low heat and bring to a slow simmer. Return the frypan to medium heat, add in a tablespoon of butter to the existing fat and the onion and garlic and saute gently for two or three minutes until softened and fragrant. Then add the rice and stir until completely coated in the butter and oil mixture. It will become glassy looking. This is good! Keep stirring for another minute or so.
Pour in the cup of white wine and stir until all wine has been absorbed.
Add the chopped chorizo, stir again and then add a ladle of stock, stirring until it has been absorbed by the rice. Keep slowly adding stock and stirring until the liquid is absorbed before you add more.
When you have about one cup of stock left add the sweet corn, red capsicum, the basil and half of the coriander.
Now add the rest of the stock bit by bit. Test your rice. If it’s still a bit chewy when all of the liquid has been added, use another slug of wine or a little more stock. The rice is done when it is still firm but also soft ( as opposed to mushy – it’s a lot like cooking pasta al dente so that there is still a little resistance when you bite into it).
Stir through the final tablespoon of butter and the fresh lemon zest.
To serve scatter the remaining coriander and the toasted nuts over the rice. The toasted nuts make a wonderful textural contrast to the softness of the rice. Offer with some parmesan to sprinkle on top as well. You could pair this with a green salad and crusty bread but it’s perfectly fine on its own.
This meal was completely devoured by hungry farm workers, so sadly no left-overs. Oh well.