Basmati is Not Aborio

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Hi, everyone!

I really wanted to make risotto yesterday, but didn’t have Aborio rice. I had a ton of Basmati rice. So, I decided to see what would happen if I made long grain Basmati in the nature of a risotto.

I used black truffle butter with a little white truffle oil and caramelized a medium red onion. I then added about a head of chopped garlic, and a small red pepper I found in my produce basket, chopped fine. (I forgot the name of the little, round, red pepper, but it was spicy!) I added a bit more butter and oil and added the Basmati rice. I tossed it so it was covered in butter and oil and let it toast slightly to exude a nutty, floral aroma. After a few minutes I added a good amount of cream sherry. The pot bubbled and the rice sucked up the sherry. When the pot was nearly dry, I added about a cup of homemade chicken stock I had simmering on the back burner and stirred. As the pot would nearly go dry, I would add more chicken stock. I don’t know how much rice I used, probably a couple of cups. And I used a lot of stock. I just eyed it. Toward the end I added a good amount of chopped flat leaf parsley. I kept adding stock and stirring until the rice was al dente. It took about a half hour. I seasoned it with a little salt and tried some. It was sweet, spicy, delicious. What’s more, the Basmati rice kept it’s integrity. I was kind if hoping the stirring would break down the starch, but, it held up rather well to my surprise. It made for a moist rice. Not creamy, not mushy, just moist. I will actually make this experimental rice dish again. I’m going to make a chicken curry to serve with it today. Yum!

Chef Anne Burrell’s Braised Lamb Shank

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Yesterday I posted a link and photo to Chef Anne Burrell’s braised lamb shanks with gremolata, along with a picture of the finished product which, if I say so myself, looked very much like Chef Anne’s (except I took it before putting on the gremolata).

She writes in her recipe that you must take your time and really brown the shanks. The deep brown color lends so much to the flavor in the end. She asks you don’t rush this part. I agree. The outcome is worth the patience. And when adding the tomato paste, be sure to cook those ingredients well to get a dark, rich flavor.

If cooked to the letter, you should have a hearty autumn dish that’s simply scrumptious. The braised meat is nearly fall off the bone tender. Don’t skip the gremolata. When I sat down and had my first bite I thought, this is delicious. Then I remembered I had yet to add the gremolata. Let me tell you, it adds a hint of citrus flavor and brightens up every mouthful. I didn’t think it would make as much of a difference as it did. It truly enhances the meal.

She suggests serving it with crisp polenta cakes to soak up all the sauce. This is a great idea, but as I served this for lunch, I merely paired it with fresh local apples and a good red wine. Perfect!

Chef Anne Burrell’s braised lamb shanks are a real winner.

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