Thursday, December 15, 2011

Peasant Risotto

I was charmed by this dish with its delicious flavour along with high protein value.  Rice and beans are the basic ingredient but this time, it is not Mexican but European in style. Remember to be generous with herbs as the flavours will be enjoyable in this simple but hearty one bowl meal. It's shamelessly inexpensive reminding all of us that with some planning and preparation, food can be good, clean and 'fairly inexpensive', a new twist on the Carlo Petrini's adage of 'Good, Clean and Fair' in his pivotal book called Slow Food Nation. By the way, this would be a great meal after skating or hockey practice, so make a large batch as this recipe offers and freeze to enjoy later.
1 tbsp olive oil 15 ml
6 slices of bacon
3 cloves garlic
2 cups arborio rice 500 ml
2 cans navy beans 1 L
soaked and drained
1 onion finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped sage 15 ml
salt to taste
4 cups chicken broth 1 L
3 cups chopped swiss chard, 
stems removed 750 ml
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 125 ml
Heat oil in a large dutch oven, adding ham, garlic, onion until they are browned. Add rice, beans and sage. Add the warm broth and bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
With the cover on the dutch oven and the risotto on a slow simmer, add the grated Parmesan cheese to thicken. Add water if necessary to prevent sticking.  Finally place the shredded swiss chard in the pot to steam for 5 minutes. Stir one last time and serve generous portions in bowls. This freezes very well. Serves 8.

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