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Sunday, August 29, 2010

How to prepare a FLAWLESS risotto

This a recipe for risotto with pears, goat cheese and  freshly crushed black peppercorns


4 cups vegetable stock ( recipe follows )
8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
2 cups of Carnaroli rice ( may substitute Arborio rice)
2 cups white wine
2 cups peeled and diced pears ( about 2 pears ) preferably Bosc pears
Salt and freshly cracked black peppercorns

In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tbsp of butter. When it begins to sizzle, add the shallots, and cook, stirring about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the wine to the pan to deglaze, and cook, stirring occasionally  
until the wine has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Then add enough simmering vegetable stock to reach about 1/4 inch above the rice and cook stirring until the liquid begins to simmer. When the rice absorbs almost all the liquid, add another ladle of stock. Continue to cook in this fashion until all the liquid has been added. (14 to 16 minutes total ) Reduce heat to low. Add goat cheese , pears, and remaining 5 tbsp of butter, and give  the mixture a couple of stirs. The cheese and butter should melt, and the risotto should take on a smooth consistency in a minute or so. Add salt and crushed black peppercorns to taste.   Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Ingredients For Vegetable Stock      

2 onions, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 stalks celery
2 leeks, halved lengthwise ( white and green parts)
5 qts ( 20 cups) water
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

In a  large stockpot simmer vegetables, water, and salt for 15 minutes, skimming surface of foam and particles. Add herbs and simmer for another 20 minutes. Strain the stock, and discard solids.
makes about 15 cups. Since you only need 4 cups for the risotto, freeze the rest to make more risotto later on.

Secret ingredient to the South's finest fried chicken

Ingredients: 3 lbs organic, free range chicken cut up into 8 pieces
                     1/4 cup kosher salt
                     4 cups buttermilk
                     1 lb organic lard
                     1 cup flour
                     2 tbsp cornstarch
                     8 tbsp ( 1 stick ) unsalted butter
                     1/2 cup organic country ham pieces
                     1/2 tsp salt
                     1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

The night before, place chicken in a large bowl and set aside. In a large pitcher, combine kosher salt with 6 cups of water and stir until the salt is dissolved. Pour salted water over chicken pieces until they are submerged. Cover and refrigerate over night. In the morning, drain chicken pieces and rinse chicken and the   lbowl. Return chicken to bowl and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
About 1 1/4 hours before serving, combine the lard, butter, and ham in a large heavy skillet. Cook over  low heat, skimming as needed, until ham is lightly browned, 30 to 45 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove ham and brown bits from fat. Increase heat to medium high to bring the fat to 335 degrees.

In a shallow bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper, mix well. Dredge chicken pieces thoroughly in flour mixture, then pat well to remove excess flour. Working in batches, (do not crowd pan ), place chicken pieces skin side down in fat. Cook 8 to 10 minutes on each side, until chicken is golden brown, and cooked through. Drain on crumpled paper towels. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature or cold. Serves 4 to 6.