Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Risotto and more

Sun 7 Jan 2007

I'm on more mailing lists than you can poke a stick at and one plopped in my inbox towards the end of last week with details of the monthly food and wine night at Room. Going to one of these nights has been on my list for a long time and I haven't quite managed it but this time round, I spotted something that sounded tasty and also sounded like an interesting food and wine combination: celeriac risotto with shallots and venison, served with a chardonnay.

Now, I'm not sure what the Room interpretation would be ... but this is mine!

First off the mark was ... um ... the beer snacks. We had some left over bits of bone from our sausage making but, more importantly, we had the pork rind to roast. This is called 'making gravy for the venison'. So, a good roast of bones and rind (scored and rubbed with olive oil and salt, obviously) and some carrots left me with a reasonable roasting pan to deglaze with some stock (ok, that came from a cube) and added some cornflour to help it all thicken. And a nice piece of pork crackling to munch on while working on the risotto and drinking some Aecht Schlenkerla rauchbier (one of Andy's Christmas presents).

On to the risotto ... I finely minced about 6 shallots and sweated most of them down in some butter, before adding 150g of carnaroli rice. I gave the rice a good mix around in the shallots and butter before starting the slow process of adding the stock - a spoonful at a time. Quite early on I added about half a finely grated celeriac. When it was finally done I left it to one side, lid on, to sort the venison.

We bought a rolled shoulder of venison (a whole £3.50 for a generous lump) which we roughly diced and then basically stir fried it with (bear with me here) some steamed brussel sprouts!!

When we were ready to go (and the plates were good and hot) I stirred a good couple of handfuls of parmesan and a lump of butter into the risotto. I then served it up with the remainder of the shallots sprinkled on top.

To drink we had a 2004 Cave de Lugny Macon-Lugny (£6.49 from Oddbins). I'm not a great fan of chardonnay, but this was a really lovely wine. A very subtle, slightly floral nose, but lovely buttery citrus flavours on the palate that went brilliantly with the celeriac. The crisp, slightly sharp raw shallot contrasted well with the creamy risotto. The venison was rare and tender, and in just mouthful sized pieces. The brussel sprouts had responded to the sauteeing by developing a blush of caramel - which went well with the roast carrots. And the gravy was such a hit that we had to find some bread to finish it off!

I will admit that the meal took a while to prepare (a good solid hour, hour and a half) - although a lot of that was standing around stirring the risotto, which, happily, can be done glass in hand. Of course, you could always prepare your risotto ahead of time - if you're careful it doesn't suffer too badly.

My photo is terrible - I'm all about the cooking and eating!

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