Monday, 11 February 2013

Pea Risotto with Verjuice

E asked for risotto for dinner.  We were able to scrape by without going shopping.  I had peas in the freezer, parmesan in the fridge and verjuice on the kitchen bench.  It seemed a simple enough dish to offer to Sylvia.  She loves rice after all.  I am pleased to say it was a success.

Verjuice is an acidic juice drink (often made with sour grapes) that was widely used in the Middle Ages and in recent times has been popularised in Australia by Maggie Beer. I have finally got on the verjuice wagon thanks to receiving a bottle for my birthday.  It can be used in place or wine or vinegar.  I usually use wine in my risotto but I thought that if I was offering risotto to Sylvia, this would be a good time to try it.  After all I had seen a recipe by Maggie Beer for Pumpkin and Verjuice Risotto.

We had a ceremonial opening of the verjuice.  I stuck my finger in the juice and licked it.  I had expected something milder.  It was quite tart.  E had a taste.  Not terribly impressed.  Sylvia had a taste, and another, and another.  She was smitten.  Not surprising as she loves lemons and limes and sour worm lollies.  I poured her a couple of tiny glassfuls that she drank.

A quick web search turned up some pea risotto recipes that included pea puree, mint, parsley or feta.  My risotto was fairly plain.  I was delighted the Sylvia ate it.  She didn't like the onion but tried a few pieces.  She wasn't keen on the peas in the risotto (but had eaten some half defrosted ones earlier while I was preparing it).  Seems I might be making some plain risottos and adding our vegies at the end for a while.

I have written what I did below.  I only had a little less than a cup of arborio rice left in the pantry and then I forgot I had put salt in when I added the stock powder.  It was quite soupy but the liquid was absorbed as it cooled.  I am recording it as a reminder but may try and tweak the recipe slightly at some stage.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: MLLA Nicki's vegetarian dumplings with fried rice
Two years ago:  Samosa Pie
Three years ago: NCR Bann’s Parsnip Soup with Walnut Ravioli and Carrot Cream
Four years ago: Jam-Making Reflections by a Novice
Five years ago: Rumi Carrots with Dukkah and Tahini

Pea Risotto with Verjuice
An original recipe with guidance from this recipe and Maggie Beer
Serves about 3

good slurp of olive oil
2 -3 tsp butter (I used margarine)
1 onion, well chopped
1 scant cup of arborio rice (because I ran out)
1/2 cup verjuice (or white wine if you don't have verjuice)
1 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp stock powder (or less)
4 cups boiling water
200g frozen peas
finely grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Fill the kettle and bring to the boil while you start the risotto.

Heat large saucepan and add olive oil and butter.  Cook the onion in the oil and butter for a few minutes, stirring every now and again.  The onion should be translucent but not brown.  I add a pinch of salt to it at the start which apparently stops it browning.  Add the rice and stir frequently for a couple of minutes until a translucent halo appears around the outside of the rice with a white core.

Add verjuice and stir frequently until mostly absorbed.  Now add 3 cups of boiling water, a cup at a time, letting the rice absorb most of the liquid each time.  Stir in the peas and then add the last cup gradually as you may not need all of it.  Keep checking if the rice is cooked by tasting it and once it is cooked turn off the heat.

Serve with finely grated parmesan.

Variations:  Serve with lightly toasted pine nuts instead of parmesan cheese.

On the Stereo:
No Earthly Man: Alasdair Roberts

12 comments:

  1. Peas are one of my absolute top five favorite veggies, especially when served with something as simple as risotto. Yummmm. I've never heard of Verjuice before... I wonder if I could drink it with my tannin allergies. Most wines, especially reds but some whites as well, make me really sick... which is a bummer as like the idea of wine. I'll have to seek out some Verjuice here in the states and give it a whirl!

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    1. Thanks Dayna - I love peas too - sorry to hear about your tannin allergy - i found the verjuice quite sour but it did well as a substitute for wine in the risotto so even if you didn't want to drink it straight, you might find that it is a good substitute in cooking

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  2. Perfect comfort food and the verjuice looks fun to try. The risotto looks really pretty with the green peas on white rice. I often think simple is the best.

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    1. Thanks Choclette - I loved it because it was quick as well as delish - that is comfort food isn't it!

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  3. How funny that Sylvia wants to drink the verjuice. I have had some for over 12 months and never used it - influenced by seeing Maggie on TV. This rissotto looks so lovely and fresh - a good way to use verjuice.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I can highly recommend using the verjuice in place of wine in a risotto - probsbly works well with sweetish veg like peas or pumpkin to balance the acidity. Hope you crack open your bottle soon! (Though I understand you either use it straight away or it gathers dust!)

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  4. I've got some of this in the cupboard, and I'm a bit perplexed as to what to use it for to make it really shine. Vinegars and things are great, but not really something that you can imagine how they'll work!

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    1. Thanks Matt - apparently it is good in salad dressings too, which I must try as well.I know what you mean about vinegars - they so often sort of prop up recipes in the background rather than playing a starring role

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  5. I remember eating frozen peas as a child - I had completely forgotten about them until reading about Sylvia's similar pea approach! I used to like frozen corn better but would tolerate the peas in the mix.

    It was great seeing what you are using verjuice for and given I like eating lemons straight up, I think I would like the flavour too. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

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    1. Thanks Kari - I don't think I have ever completely lost the habit of eating a few frozen peas - though mostly it is a just a few before they are cooked. I've never eaten frozen corn - but maybe I need to buy a packet just to taste it frozen. If you like lemons I think you might just like verjuice - it is usually sold at boutique food stores.

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  6. Hehe isn't it funny how she likes things like verjuice! And frozen peas as opposed to cook it seems too! :)

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - yep Sylvia doesn't eat food as I expect her to but I think she eats lots of raw stuff so that must be good for her (apart from raw flour!)

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