This was the last class in this block of lessons and the last class with Chef Troy, next week I start on Poultry with a new Chef. This weeks recipes were examples of what I enjoy cooking, and the finished dishes worked out just right (unlike last week). Mushroom Risotto, Vegetable and Chick-pea Tagine with Cous-Cous, Chicken and Ginger Consommé with Rice Noodle and Mozzarella stuffed Arancini…..deee – licious! As always the lessons build on each other….each class reinforcing prior learnings, e.g clarifying and flavouring stock to make a consommé.
We started with the consommé as the clarification process takes two hours… but it’s well worth the effort. After mixing the raft (having chopped the vegetables in a food processor), it was added to the cold stock and cooked over a very low heat with barely any movement. When the raft is initially added to the cold stock, it’s important to stir it for a minute or so to ensure it doesn’t float down & stick to the bottom. Once it comes up to a simmer, stop stirring and simply allow the raft to form, ensure the heat is vey low & allow the stock to gently simmer underneath. Before the raft was added, the stock was flavoured with some finely grated ginger, soy sauce, five spice and crushed Szechuan peppercorns. To the vegetables which made up the raft (carrots, celery, onion) we added two cloves of crushed garlic and two finely chopped birds-eye chillies. Once clarified, the consommé was gently filtered from the raft and a little brown sugar (20g) and some sesame oil (10 mls) was added. On tasting I found there was enough soy flavour but it did need a touch of salt…always taste, taste, taste when cooking. The finished dish was served in a bowl which had at the base cooked rice noodles, topped with blanched Asian greens (Bon Choy) and shredded poached chicken breast. Finally the consommé was added and some garnish….mmmm!
As some of the risotto was to be used to make the arancini later in the class, that was the next recipe. I love risotto and Mushroom Risotto is one of my favourites. People shy away from making it due to the constant stirring it requires, but I find that quite relaxing. The recipe I always go back to is in the first ‘River Cafe Cook Book’ by Ruth Gray and Ruth Rogers. The River Cafe is an English icon and the restaurant where the delightful Jamie Oliver started out. My copy of this favourite cookbook was a birthday gift many years ago from my lovely friend Amanda who is a fabulous cook and an amazing chocolatier.
In prior posts I have shared my enjoyment of North African cooking and the Tagine. The recipe we cooked in class was lovely, perfect for a vegetarian alternative and could be raised to a higher level with the addition of saffron. In my view all recipes provide a basis from which you can put your personal stamp on a dish, and in my case I would add steeped saffron to this one. I am happy to share the recipe if anyone is interested.
The last dish of the day was the arancini. As I served myself only a small dish of the risotto for lunch (benefits of the class) there was quite a lot left, which was flattened out in a tray and cooled in the fridge for the arancini. I estimate the amount was around 320 grams but I don’t think it really matters, the more risotto you have the more mozzarella you will need and the more arancini you can make. I have included the recipe below so won’t go through it here. I have been thinking of other risottos which I will make and turn into arancini ….the classic Risotto Milanese with it’s saffron flavour will be next for sure.
Next week we start on three weeks of Poultry dishes to which I am looking forward. Also, hopefully in the next few days I will hear back from a local restaurant who I have approached for the mandatory kitchen experience. It is a very nice restaurant and one whose menu I really like. Where as I will lose some of my free time on weekends, I am sure I will enjoy it and it will bring me closer to completing my training and provide a new learning experience. Wish me luck!
Seldom is there any Risotto left-over in my house, but if you ever do, these are great and have an oozy cheesy middle. Any Risotto will work - the ones in the photo were made from mushroom risotto. The number you can make depends on how much risotto you have left over. I made 8 form approximately 320g of left -over risotto. More or less will result depending on the size you roll. The prep time assumes you have some cold risotto ready to go!
- 320 gm Cold Risotto
- 50 gm Mozzarella
- 2 55g Eggs
- 100 gm Plain (all purpose) Flour
- 100 ml Milk - full cream
- 150 g Bread crumbs (I used Panko)
Roll the cold risotto into *8 evenly sized balls
Make a hole/pocket in the ball of risotto and place a piece of Mozzarella into the middle. Close up and using the palm of your hand mould into slightly egg shape.
Make an egg wash by mixing the eggs and milk.
Lay out the flour, the egg wash and the breadcrumbs on a row.
Roll the arancini through the flour, then the egg wash, then the bread crumbs.
Place the arancini in the fridge until required. Deep fry at 180 degrees celsius until golden brown. Serve hot.