Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mexican risotto

This dish drew in the judges and had them wishing they could go to the back to try it. The floor judges watch preparation, safety and sanitation, teamwork, communication, etc., while the tasting judges are separated into another room where all they do is taste food all day and don't see any of the prep. The reason I explain that is that after the kids were finished with their hour prep time, the floor judges all told them that was the best looking risotto they had seen all day and they wished they could try it, loved the smell, on and on. The first comment from one of the tasting judges was "this is not a risotto". They're all chefs at pretty big-time places (for our area anyway), but they couldn't agree on a lot of things that day, so we weren't too surprised. It's prepared using the risotto method, so I'm going to continue to call it risotto. The floor judges that watched the prep and didn't even know what we were calling it called it a risotto themselves, so we'll stick with it! That being said, this stuff is great. A few of the kids were making it at home for their families because they loved it so much (and when you're making the same dishes three times a week for three weeks, you don't typically want to make the same thing when you get home!). You can adjust the vegetables and amount of cheese to your liking. This is another side that easily makes a meal for me and was good hot, cold, and room temperature (seeing it so many times meant I was sometimes eating it leftover for lunch:).

Mexican Risotto
Serves 3 hearty side portions

1/2 cup arborio rice
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 red pepper, brunoise (tiny dice)
1/3 green pepper, brunoise
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/3 zucchini, julienne (matchstick cuts)
4 oz frozen corn, thawed
1/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

 Pour chicken stock into a medium size saucepan. Heat and add chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté for about 2-3 minutes or until onion softens.
Add rice and stir until coated, about one minute.
Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock and stir until the rice absorbs it.
Add red pepper, green pepper, and jalapeno.
Add broth one ladle at a time, letting rice absorb it before adding the next ladle. Stir continuously.
Before adding the last ladle of broth, add corn and zucchini. Add remaining broth and stir.
Add cheese and stir to melt. Serve.

1 comment:

Mary Ellen said...

Ooh I haven't made this one in a while. I call it risotto for the exact reason you stated - it's made using the same method. Good enough for me!