If you’re a child of the eighties like me, you’ll be used to your beetroot pickled in jars and served on a ploughmans. And as much I love this all-time favourite lunch, the revival this lowly root veg is receiving right now is inspiring. People are enjoying it in lots of different ways and I say long may it continue!
I love it in risotto; the colour makes for a stunning dish and there’s no mistaking what has been put in front of you. A little butter, a little parmesan and this is a finished dish.
My top tip is get stirring! Stir, stir, stir and you will release the starch that makes for a creamy rice. Put your elbow into it and get a real workout; followed by the anti-inflammatory benefits of the beetroot this really is a healthy dish!
One more thing; please, please never add cream! Italian mamas everywhere will chase you!
Beetroot Risotto with Red Wine
300g risotto rice
4 shallots, peeled finely diced
1 stick of celery, peeled, finely diced
1 clove garlic, peeled, finely chopped
2 fresh beetroot, peeled, finely diced
50g smoked bacon diced (optional)
2 large flat field mushrooms, finely sliced
300ml quality pressed beetroot juice
200ml red wine
1 litre chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme, leaves shredded off
100g unsalted butter
40g grated parmesan cheese
Handful of fresh loosely chopped flat parsley
- Have your chicken stock gently simmering in a pan next to the your risotto pot
- Add 50g of the butter to the risotto pan and allow to melt before adding the shallots, celery and garlic
Gently fry in the butter without colouring too much, once softened add the beetroot and gently saute. If you need to, add a splash of olive oil so it doesn’t stick or burn.
- Once softened, add the rice and stir! After a couple of minutes, a definite fragrance of cooking rice will appear and it will begin to crack
Fold in the flat mushrooms, turn up the heat and stir for a further 2 minutes before carefully adding the red wine
- Allow the wine to reduce fully before adding the beetroot juice
Once the rice has soaked up the juice, add the chicken stock a ladle at a time. Be sure to reduce all the liquid before adding the next ladle of stock
Before you use all the stock, check the rice for doneness. It should be soft but still have a bite right in the centre, if this is the case remove the risotto from the heat otherwise repeat with the stock.
- Once cooked, fold in the thyme leaves, remaining butter, parmesan cheese and the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve, if you wish, with freshly grated horseradish and more parmesan. Enjoy