I quite like making stock; when I’ve paid £13 for a chicken, it makes me feel considerably more virtuous to know that not a drop of chickeny-goodness has gone to waste. However, although I diligently make, strain, reduce and store my stock, I’m often at a loss for the best way to show it off. It seems a waste of all that effort to just bung it into a curry or sauce. Which is why I find myself turning to risotto again and again when I have chicken stock in the house.
I’ve seen copies of Jamie’s Italy in various people’s houses over the past few months and have resisted buying, even though it looks very good, as I already own Marcella Hazan’s The Essentials of Classical Italian Cooking and Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy: Food and Stories. Browsing through other people’s copies, however, (and I am certainly not above this – if I’m in your house, no cookbook is safe) a couple of unusual recipes struck me, namely recipes for a parsnip risotto and an artichoke one. The parsnip one particularly intrigued me; the idea of the savoury stock and the sweet, earthy parsnips seemed particularly appealing. Although I didn’t have the echt Jamie version to work from, I used my usual risotto tactics, following along with Giorgio to make sure I got the technique right. The parsnip crisps occurred to me at the last minute; I’ve been buying rather a lot of them in Pret recently.
Parsnip Risotto with Parsnip Crisps
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 small parsnips
1 tbsp butter plus 1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 glass white wine
500 ml chicken stock
1/2 cup risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli or vialone nano)
1/2 tsp thyme
2-3 tbsp grated parmesan
Finely slice half of one of the parsnips, and finely dice the rest. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan or saute pan and soften the onions. Once the onions have started to go translucent, add the diced parsnips and cook together with the onions until their almost browning. Stir in the rice, and fry for 2-3 minutes to toast the rice. Add the white wine and stir until it’s all absorbed, then start to add the chicken stock a little at a time. Stir between additions, and start to taste the rice after about 10-15 minutes. When the grains only have a little hardness left, add the chopped thyme, then keep adding stock and stirring until the grains yield all the way through. In between the stirring, heat a small frying pan and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil (not the good stuff). Add the sliced parsnip and fry until they are brown and crisp. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil, and sprinkle with a little salt.
Once the risotto is done, take the pan off the heat and let stand while you slice off another piece of cold butter and grate the parmesan. Stir these in then serve, with a little extra grated parmesan, the parsnip crisps and a little more thyme on top.
Cook’s notes: I used the gravy from making Muriel’s chicken as well as the stock for this. As this was already flavoured with thyme, lemon and garlic, it was a little too much for the dish, and just the plain chicken stock would have been better. The dish could also have stood a little more wine to add a bit of acidity to the earthiness and sweetness of the parsnips.