Generally speaking, there are two schools of thought on homemdade stock. First, we have the ‘make a giant batch and freeze it’ camp; then we have the ‘make a little bit when you want to’ camp. I’m in the second camp. That said, I’m not a big stock maker. I like my Better Than Bouillon. The major exception here is when there has recently been roast chicken. Chuck them bones in a pot with a quarter of an onion, some garlic cloves, spices (rosemary, thyme, sage, black pepper) and any good veg scraps you happen to have on hand (in this case corn cobs.) Cover with water and let simmer for a few hours and there you go. Delicious stock and a delicious smelling house. If it’s is a bit weak, you can always reduce the stock a little to concentrate the flavor. Remember not to add any salt until after you’ve reduced it. Otherwise just enough salt can turn into way too much. Now that that’s out of the way let’s make some risotto!
-1 1/2 cup short grain rice (Arborio is usually what Americans use although some prefer Carnaroli, which makes a nicer sauce but is more expensive and the rice stays firmer)
-4 1/2 to 5 cups broth (homemade or not)
-1/2 large onion, diced
-3 ears of fresh corn kernels (cobs in the stock)
-bits of chicken picked off the carcass
-2-3 Tablespoons oil
First things first, don’t rinse the rice. The reason I mention this is that many rice dishes want you pre-rinse. This will remove the starch which coats your rice, which is all well and good when you want your rice fluffy but is the exact opposite of what you want for risotto. The starch is what makes the sauce. No rinsing.
Keep the stock in a small pot over a low flame to keep warm. If it gets too hot it will evaporate, so keep an eye on it.
Step one is to sweat down your onions. To do this, combine the oil and onions in a large pot (I prefer my 6 quart dutch oven) set on a medium-low heat and stir. The goal is to get the onions translucent without any browning, so keep the heat low and stir often.
Once you’ve accomplished this task (good job), add the rice and corn. What we’re concerned with here is the rice, so don’t worry about the corn. Stir the rice so it’s mixed in evenly and keep stirring so it toasts at the same rate. First it will go kind of clear, that’s good. When it starts to brown and smell a little nutty, it’s ready. Add the first cup of water. This will absorb pretty quickly but don’t add more that one cup at a time. Stir often and add each cup as soon as the liquid from the last one is soaked in. Allegedly, you need 3 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of rice. This is a lie. Err on the side of having too much liquid. Be patient, stir often, add the stock slowly. After adding the last of the stock, give it a taste, it will probably need salt and maybe some more spice. A little rosemary wouldn’t hurt in this recipe, and I find corn and black pepper go together very well. Since the chicken is already fully cooked, just stir that in at the end.
You’ll know it’s ready when the sauce is creamy and the rice is al dente, soft but not too soft. I like the word “toothsome”.
- Roasted Corn Risotto (kathskitchensync.wordpress.com)
- Chicken stock risotto (culinarysecrets.wordpress.com)
- Recipe: Broccoli and Mushroom Risotto (moveeatcreate.com)