Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cherry Risotto

Whenever I visit my parents, my mom asks that I make up some risotto. So, after finishing dinner one night, I asked what kind of risotto the two of them wanted. Since mom had just bought some cherries, I suggested a savory cherry risotto. I figured the challenge of using cherries to make a savory dish would be a fun experiment, and that if I could make it work then it would be a great side for poultry.

4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp rosemary (half for broth, half on cherry/mushrooms)
½ tsp. ground white peppercorns
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp chili powder
1 tsp orange zest
Pinch of nutmeg
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups cherries, seeded and halved
1½  cup sliced mushrooms
pinch of salt 
½ half an onion, cut into slivers 
¾ cup white wine 
  cup risotto
½ cup of arugula, chopped finely

  • Place a pot over medium heat.  Pour in broth and add all the spices (1/2 tsp rosemary, thyme, chili, peppercorns, cinnamon, and nutmeg) and orange zest.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. 
  • In a large pan over medium heat, sauté cherries in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil for 3 minutes.  Then, remove cherries, add three more tablespoons of olive oil and sauté  mushrooms.  When mushrooms are lightly brown, add the cherries back and pour in ¼ cup of white wine.  Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until most of the wine is cooked off.  Remove mushrooms and cherries to a bowl and season with 1/2 tsp of rosemary and a pinch of salt. 

  • In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter and add onions.   Cook until brown and wilted (not quite fully caramelized, but close).  Then, add the risotto and stir until the grain is translucent, except for a white dot in the center (about 5 minutes).  Add the 1/2 cup of wine and stir until completely absorbed.  Add a ladleful of stock, stirring continually.  Wait until the stock is completely absorbed before adding another ladleful.  Continue to keep adding broth a ladleful at a time, only adding more once the broth is absorbed.  It should take about 20 minutes or more to get the risotto tender.  
  • When the risotto is soft and you have added all but the last ½ cup of broth, add the cherries and mushrooms.  Cover with a lid and let finish over a low heat for about 5 minutes.  When you are ready to serve, add the rest of the broth, a small pad of butter, and top with toasted almonds or goat cheese.   
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