Sunday, 18 May 2014

Coquina Squash Baked Brown Rice Risotto (vegan & gluten free)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Nelly Furtardo ~ Do It
Soundgarden ~ 665
The Dead Daisies ~ Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
James Morrison ~ Forever 
Audioslave ~ Heaven's Dead 
Missy Higgins ~ All In My Head
Doris Day ~ Secret Love
KT Tunstall ~ Minature Disasters 
Nirvana ~ In Bloom
Joan Jett ~ Lie To Me
Thunder ~ Move On
Tina Dico ~ Watch Your Tongue 
Otep ~ Possession
VAST ~ Touched 

What a weekend we're having here at R & R is yours going? Yesterday started with the arrival of our first viewer who turned up with all her family and their cat! I kid you not..poor thing had been to the vets to have stitches checked and the lady didn't want to leave the kitty in the car and we couldn't have agreed with her more. Archie was less than impressed so he got to enjoy the sunshine for a while. Whilst ML took them for the tour and to answer their many questions I spent time with the kitty..who was lovely if not looking a little sorry for its self but then if I had to wear a funnel that big I would be too! They seem to be very keen and have asked for a builder to visit with the hope of making a second visit and then a formal offer. Now I know what my luck is like...could I be that lucky that the first person through the door would want to buy it? Goodness me I hope so...and the family really seemed to fit here and had already started debates about who would have what I would be happy leaving my once beloved home to them and moving on. After a resting time for ML and I to catch a breath, we headed over to the city to meet up with Ann for lunch and then to pick up edamame beans and other fresh goods for the weekend. Today ML got up early and took a car full of 'stuff' to a local car boot sale and did quite well. I stayed home and did my daily yoga (Oh read that correctly...woohoo Kundalini Detox yoga), enjoyed some quiet time and then headed into the kitchen to make breakfast (savoury buckwheat pancakes), a creamy Asian dressing for my lunchtime salads for the next couple of days and today's evening meal. I put my iPod on kinda loud (well it is and got we're both sat waiting for the next house viewers to arrive. I have to say I am looking forward to them leaving so I can breath properly for a while. I sincerely hope that the two viewers this weekend aren't the only ones that come. But as I am reminded only takes one. *deep breath* Anyway...

I picked up my Coquina squash from a supermarket a couple of months ago and stashed it into my veggie storage and then found that my love for sweeter vegetables has died...completely. There it sat looking beautiful in its tray but not for one second did it make my taste buds sing. Until I found this risotto recipe online and sadly it's posted by Anon again so I cannot give credit where it's due. Ah well. The recipe I printed off called for butternut but Coquina is very similar so I decided to try it out. I had picked up a large bag of lush green kale whilst in the city and I had a stash of short grain brown rice waiting to be used. Decison made...

Now as you know I am no risotto purist. It matters not to me whether white wine is used or if every drop of stock is stirred into the rice until they resemble little perfect globs of white. Firstly I never use arborio...I use short grain brown rice which I much prefer and it's easier on my system than white rice of any kind. I also rarely use wine...I don't drink so I choose not to use alcohol in my food but I don't judge others for doing so. I am not preaching..we are all adults here lol. I have read that some risotto purists collapse in horror at the thought of a baked risotto but I had no such reaction. I simply thought how tasty it sounded. I also made one other substitution using coconut oil instead of the extra virgin olive oil. The recipe is very straight forward and only requires 20 minutes in the oven. I left mine in for 30 as I was using brown rice. 

In all honesty I was expecting a drier version of risotto so I was surprised when there was still quite a lot of liquid left. But not so much it was a rice soup...but I did drain off maybe a large ladle full. The rice was perfectly cooked and quite fluffy and the kale had lost a little of its lush greenness but still had bite. The squash was succulent and maybe a little on the softer side than I would prefer but it was still good and not at all sweet. It looks like a butternut...cuts like a butternut...but tastes so very much better. Combining these simple ingredients with the veggie stock, dried thyme, shallots and garlic made for a great tasting and comforting dish. OK..OK..maybe the risotto purists would argue that this is risotto at all and simply just another rice dish. *shrugs* Maybe I would agree with them this time because there wasn't the soft, plumpness to the rice but I couldn't care less. It's a great meal and very satisfying...see what you think...

Coquina Squash Baked Rice Risotto

Coquina Squash Baked Brown Rice Risotto   Serves 4

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used coconut oil)
2 shallots, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (I used 1/2 tsp dried)
1 1/2 cups of arborio rice (I used short grain brown)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used extra stock)
1 medium squash (approx 2lb/4 cups) peeled and diced
4 cups low sodium veggie stock 
1 bunch black or curly kale, tough stalks removed, cut crosswise into 1/2" thick strips

Preheat the oven to 400'F/200'C/GM6. In a medium cast iron casserole dish with a tight fitting lid, heat the oil over medium-high. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until opague, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper, Add wine and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add squash and broth; bring mixture to a boil. Stir in kale. Cover, transfer to oven, and bake until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Sunday is relaxing and peaceful...


N.B: This is not my recipe and so I take no credit for it whatsoever but I do send out thanks to whoever did. ~R~