A week after our family Thanksgiving, I’ve finally killed the turkey. I started, naturally, with turkey sandwiches (both hot and cold), proceeded to turkey noodle soup, dabbled in turkey salad (with almonds, craisins and golden raisins) and wrapped it up tonight with turkey risotto. I know there are folks out there who don’t like risotto (I’m calling you out, Albany Jane!), but other than soup, there’s nothing better to empty out a refrigerator filled with leftovers than a big pot of risotto. I’m sure you’ve heard it requires endless stirring and all sorts of other tedious attention, but, seriously, it doesn’t. And, even if it did, it would be worth it because risotto is incredibly versatile and potentially so very delicious.
The 2 most important considerations, I think, are using good quality arborio rice and having your stock hot. The rest of the “details” are completely subjective. Add whatever ingredients you have on hand – any combination of meat (maybe poultry, fish or sausage), vegetables and/or cheese can be put together to make a satisfying meal, trust me. What I had readily available tonight was leftover turkey (duh), broccoli, baby peas, bleu cheese and fresh mozzarella, so that’s what I used.
|Rice and stock becoming friends|
Naturally, I got started by heating up about 2 quarts of turkey stock. As this was happening, I minced a couple of cloves of garlic and chopped 2 medium onions. I put the garlic and onions into a a large pot which had about 2 tablespoons of hot bacon fat – yummy, yummy bacon fat. Once these were softened, I added approximately 2 cups of arborio rice to the pot, stirring to make sure each grain was glistening with bacon fat. After a couple of minutes (perhaps 2, which seems to be the number of the night), I started adding turkey stock to the pot, ladle by ladle, keeping things a bit soupy to start.
|A bowl of goodness|
The rice will absorb the stock gradually (have the heat between high-low to medium) which is your invitation to add more liquid. Continue stirring (not constantly, just with regular frequency) and adding stock until the rice is just about al dente. This is the point when I add my stuff – generally leftover (cooked) poultry, vegetables (take into account whether they are fresh , frozen or leftover and adjust cooking time accordingly) and cheese and seasonings. I detected a bit of blandness in my pot tonight and put in a healthy dollop of hot pepper jelly which added a fantastic flavor to the otherwise mild ingredients. Don’t be afraid – it’s just food! When the rice is the tenderness you enjoy – stop adding stock, stop stirring, and serve yourself a bowl of hearty deliciousness. Enjoy.