Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sushi-Rice Risotto with Vermouth and Out-of-Season Asparagus UPDATED

Forget the kitchen cleanse recipes from before. I have the kitchen-cleanse recipe. It was without a doubt the best use of leftovers in a dish better than any of the previous that I could imagine ending up with. We're going to call it Asparagus Risotto, although we're not planning to serve it to any Italian friends any time soon, because it's probably not technically risotto.

Day 1 (!!!):

1) Eat Nigella Lawson's chicken. Somehow manage not to eat all of it, or at least to have chicken skin, bones, and garlic peel remaining.

2) Toss that and whichever other juices are in the Pyrex into a pot. Investigate fridge items needing to be gotten rid of. Toss in a carrot, plus the remaining fridge-dried herbs (rosemary, sage, and a small amount of thyme). Add a halved, peeled, small white onion, not to get rid of it, but because this is supposed to help. Salt, pepper, done.

3) Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Google "simmer" to see if it means what you think it does, while remembering something Melissa Clark (?) once said on a podcast about how it's possible to give yourself food poisoning with chicken stock. Wonder if that applies to stock made with chicken that's already cooked.

4) Stir, poke at, or skim the thing with a skimmer. Try not to remove the vegetables in the process. Forget the skimming, remembering another podcast about the wonders of schmaltz.

5) Once it's been about two hours, strain the result. Share the still-quite-tasty chicken bits with your dog. Keep the still-kind-of-tasty carrot pieces for yourself.

6) Somehow or another, make sure it ends up in the fridge overnight, preferably after cooling a bit at room temperature.

Day 2:

7) Heat olive oil in pot. Chop and add small white onion.

8) Add sushi rice. Stir.

9) Add some vermouth. Much less vermouth than rice. Stir. Wistfully ponder that you totally intended to have martinis when purchasing this. Instead, you're cooking with the stuff.

10) Time for the broth! Remove broth from fridge. When skimming the fat off the top, note that the entire thing has congealed. Cook with it anyway and Google after dinner, only to learn that this means you made excellent chicken stock. Huh!

11) Add the gelatinous broth (just cold, keeping the rest in the fridge) in stages, letting it absorb (lowish heat). Taste every so often to decide how much more salt (a ton, in my case) you're going to add.

12) When you taste the "risotto" and the rice is cooked, rinse and chop the asparagus - get this! - the raw asparagus remaining from the previous night's dinner. Stir in the asparagus, toughest bits first, until it's all in.

13) Done! Serve.

14) Kidding! Grate in as much parmesan as physically possible. And pepper. And more salt. Never enough salt.

15) Eat two or three bowls of the result.

16) Realize that you don't notice how much you've eaten of this until after you're done. Sit on couch, unable to move. Picture how the rice was expanding in the pot each time you added more broth, and imagine it's doing the same in your stomach.

17) Despite this, start thinking ahead to...

Day 3:

18) I will, at some point in the next few days, attempt arancini. This will also, in principle, use up some stale bread, for the breadcrumbs.


Arancini proved disappointing. Bad, even. They're meant to be deep-fried, but because I was impatient and wanted this for breakfast, even though we have a deep-fryer, I didn't use it. Also because they need to have lots of cheese, but I hadn't grated any into the leftover risotto. A quick attempt to add some in the morning, while also getting non-breakfast-related things done, was insufficient. With more cheese, and with the rice actually heated through, they'd have been much improved. That said, the breading part itself reminded me how easy and delicious breading can be. All future meals are to be breaded.

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