Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Broad/Fava Bean Risotto

Kitchen Play List: Dean Martin ~ That's Amore
                                     Shakira ~ Underneath Your Clothes
                                     50 Cent ~ In Da Club
                                     Mr Buble ~ It Had Better Be Tonight
                                     Roberta Flack ~ Will You Still Love Me?
                                     Jack Johnson ~ Do You Remember?
                                    Antonio Vivaldi ~ The Storm at Sea, Presto

I recoiled in fear when My Love handed me the Mystery Ingredient Challenge item this week. A bag of frozen broad/fava beans are not an ingredient that makes me smile. Instead I grimaced and thought to myself..."Oh heck what on earth am I going to do with these?".

Broad/Fava Bean Risotto

I hated these beans when I was a child. My family loved them and my Grandad grew them in his veggie garden. My stomach would drop through the floor when presented with my dinner plate that evening although I already knew they were going to be part of my dinner due to the odour. When I was old enough to refuse them..I did! And as an adult I never cooked with them. Ever! Until My Love grew some and brought them in from the garden one day and I was stunned and saddened. My Love looked so pleased when handing over the bowl of them to me...I was still in stunned silence. In my head I was No, no, no, no, noing..lol. But I accepted the bowl and set them down on the kitchen side and wondered what on earth I was going to do with them. 

I found a pate recipe hiding in a cookbook and gathered the ingredients and made it before I could change my mind..lol. And to be honest...it was lovely. So I made this pate a few times to get my taste buds used to the flavour. I then adventured further by adding them to a beany dish and found that I quite enjoyed them. But realised very quickly that they had to be skinned! I could not entertain them with their skins on...at all. That just brought childhood nightmares back lol. So in some way I found the broad/fava bean love. 

This recipe was found between the covers of a cookbook I'm reviewing and testing at the moment. And oddly this recipe wasn't on the list of recipes I had planned out for testing. But when presented with the M.I.C item, it popped into my mind. And I have to say I haven't been disappointed with a single recipe from Sophie Dahl's From Season to Season

I've had to veganise it very slightly by the simple change of dairy pecorino cheese for a soya cheeze. And unfortunately our choice of soya cheeze is so limited here in the UK and we have to the choice of two brands. And none of the offerings are parmesan or pecorino substitutes..sadly. The only parmesan subsitute you can buy is the dried variety which is really only any good sprinkled on to pasta and not used in any quantities larger then a 1/2 teaspoon. So I had a block of 'Mature Cheddar' Cheezely sat in my fridge and used some of that. 
Another gratuitous shot - best of  a bad bunch, the rest looked blue lol!

The risotto was light and creamy and the broad beans and the baby spinach gave it that little freshness that some risottos often lack. I really enjoyed this dish..a lot. 

Broad/Fava Bean Risotto Serves 6
(Recipe from From Season to Season/Dahl)

300g/2 cups of fresh or frozen podded broad/fava beans
1 tbsp olive oil
25g/ 1/4 stick of vegan butter or margarine
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
400g/2 cups of risotto rice
125ml/ 1/2 cup of white wine or extra stock
1.2 litres/5 cups of hot vegetable stock
100g/2 cups of baby spinach
100g/1 cup of soya cheeze grated, plus extra for serving (Percorino)

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and cook the broad/fava beans for 5-6 minutes. Drain and tip the beans into a bowl of cold water. Drain again, then pop the beans out of their skins and set aside. 

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the olive oil and butter on a lowish heat. Sweat the onion for a few minutes until translucent, then add the garlic, taking care it doesn't burn. Add the rice to the pan, giving it doesn't burn. add the rice to the pan, giving it a good stir. Pour in the wine and cook until it's all been absorbed. Breathe. (Ms.Dahl's comment..lol ~R~)

Add the stock, ladle by ladle, stirring well between each addition and topping up only when the last ladle has been absorbed. The trick to risotto is surrendering to the stirring, finding a calm in it. When the stock is used up, you're about there; it normally takes around 20 minutes. A dew minutes before this point, stir in the broad/fava beans, spinach, and cheeze to taste. Plate in low bowl, with bit of cheeze on top.