Monday, January 7, 2013

Ham, Pea, and Mint Risotto

Do you like mint? That’s cool. I don’t. I guess it just reminds me too much of toothpaste. However, since this week’s themed ingredient was mint, I forged ahead anyway, and decided to do a savory dish instead of an obvious mint/chocolate dessert combo. I do like how the mint acts as a fresh herb to cut through the richness of the rest of the dish; I just wish it didn’t taste so… well, minty. If you happen to like mint, however, I think you will really enjoy this recipe:

Ham, Pea, and Mint Risotto:
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1.5 tbsp Bacon grease
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine or vermouth
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
4 tbsp chopped fresh mint
¼ lb. Smoked ham, chopped into pieces
3 tbsp butter
Black Pepper
Parmesan Cheese
Green Onions
Salt (optional)

Pour your stock into a medium sized pot and bring to a bare simmer. Keep the stock at this temperature for the duration of the process – adding the hot stock to the risotto aids the cooking process.

Heat a medium sized pan over medium-low/medium and add the bacon grease. When the grease is melted, add the shallots, and cook for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rice, stirring to coat, and toast for about 1.5 minutes.

Pour in the white wine, and cook until the wine is evaporated/absorbed. Add 1 cup of the stock, stirring frequently. When the stock has been pretty much all absorbed, add in another half cup, again stirring and waiting for the stock to be absorbed by the rice. Repeat this process until the stock is all used up, about 17 minutes. After the last addition of stock, add in the the peas and ham. The ham just needs to warm up, and the peas only take about 3 minutes to cook.

When the rice is fully cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the butter and mint. Season with black pepper and salt (shouldn’t take much – also, the parmesan you’ll be garnishing with adds saltiness). Serve with grated parmesan, an extra crack of black pepper, green onions and mint leaves for garnish.


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