Monday, February 7, 2011

Kalua Risotto

This is something of a follow up to my last post, as it is a way to use the kalua pig or duck made using the recipe from the last post. The recipe I am going to post is not a traditional risotto, but I do follow the risotto technique, so I will also explain how to make a real risotto.

Kalua Risotto

1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup “forbidden rice” or other black rice
large splash white wine
4-6 cups chicken stock
2 cups cooked and shredded kalua pig or duck
plus any fat from pig or duck
Hawaiian salt
1 tsp grains of paradise
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
small pinch cayenne
½ cup creme fraiche
½ cup frozen peas

If you have sufficient fat from the pork or duck (you should) melt it in a pot. If there is not enough, supplement with duck fat or, lacking that, olive oil. Meanwhile, heat chicken stock in a separate pot to a bare simmer and keep hot. If you wish, up to 2 cups of the stock can be replaced with water. Saute onion in fat until soft, then add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the rice and saute for another 2-3 minutes, until you start getting a nutty smell from the rice.

Saute the rice until you get a nutty aroma and there is a slight chalky texture on the surface of the rice

Add a splash of wine, then add one or two ladles of the stock and simmer, stirring regularly, until the liquid is absorbed. Once the first batch of liquid is absorbed, add more stock and continue cooking in this manner until the rice is tender. As this is a whole grain rice, it will likely take about 40 minutes, as opposed to 20-25 minutes if one were using a white rice. Traditionally, risotto is supposed to be stirred constantly, but this really isn’t necessary, especially for this recipe. A few stirs every minute should be enough. When the rice is tender, add the meat and any additional fat, and a final ladle or two of stock. You can even add the skin if you want, just slice it into narrow strips.

Add the seasonings, creme fraiche and peas, heat everything through, and serve.

Forbidden rice is a variety of rice that, in ancient China, was reserved for use by the emperor, and thus forbidden to all others. Now it is just one of many interesting varieties of rices available. If one were making traditional risotto, the rice to use is arborio, a short-grain Italian white rice. When cooked and stirred, the starch releases from the rice into the pot and the dish takes on a creamy texture. The forbidden rice releases far less starch, so you will not get the same creaminess, which is why I add creme fraiche, an addition that should not be made to true risotto. Creme fraiche is heavy cream that has been slightly soured. If you cannot find it, replace it with heavy cream, just add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Grains of paradise, also called guinea pepper or alligator pepper, taste something like pepper, with a bit of lemony flavour. If you cannot find it, lemon pepper may be acceptable, or just black pepper.

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