Monday, 7 January 2008

Ham & Mushroom Orzotto (Risotto)

This is probably my favourite thing to do with leftover ham and ham stock. I've made it for a number of years as a risotto, but in the interest of more local content, I tried it as an orzotto this time. All that means is that I replaced the rice with barley. I was very happy with how it turned out.

If you want to make this as a risotto, don't pre-cook the rice. Use twice as much arborio rice as barley (2 cups) and put it into the pan once the vegetables have gone in and have softened and cooked down a little. Sauté the rice until it is opaque and perhaps even very lightly browned, then start adding the stock and proceed following the rest of the recipe.

Precooking the barley is perhaps not necessary, but I think otherwise it will take a loooong time for the orzotto to be ready, and you will likely need more stock or water. If you want to put the raw barley straight into the skillet without pre-cooking, be sure to use pearl barley and not pot barley. Pot barley was what I used. It has a lot more fibre and nutrients than pearl barley, but it definitely requires a lot more cooking.

4 servings
2 hours - 30 minutes prep time

Ham and Mushroom Orzotto or RisottoPrecook the barley:
1 cup pot barley
2 cups ham stock

Put the barley and ham stock in your rice cooker, with a pinch of salt if you think it is warranted, and cook the barley.

Cook the orzotto:
3 shallots
1 large leek
2 stalks of celery
2 cups diced mushrooms
2 or 3 tablespoons ham fat or olive oil
4 cups ham stock
6 large dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup diced cooked ham

Peel the shallots and dice them. Wash, trim and chop the leek fairly finely. Wash and chop the celery. Clean and dice the mushrooms.

Put the stock in a pot with the shiitake mushrooms and the saffron threads, and heat until it steams. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the fat or oil in a very large skillet. Sauté the leek, shallots, celery and mushrooms until softened and cooked down a little. Add the cooked barley and about 1/2 cup of the ham stock. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Let cook, stirring regularly, until the stock is absorbed.

In the meantime, fish the shiitake out of the stock and let them cool enough to handle. Cut off and discard the stems. Chop the caps and add them to the orzotto.

When the first round of stock has been absorbed, add another 1/2 cup or so to the orzotto. Continue until you have added all the stock. Stir frequently. Prepare the Parmesan cheese and parsley to finish.

To finish the orzotto:
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup minced parsley

When the orzotto has absorbed most of the stock and is thick and cream-soupy in texture, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve with the parsley sprinkled over the top.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Risotto made with barley sounds interesting. With ham, ham stock and shiitake mushrooms this sounds really tasty!