I made a large vegetable dish last night which turned out particularly well, and I’ve had a request for the recipe from one of the people who ate it. I didn’t measure anything, I’m afraid, so all the quantities are going to be pretty vague. I was feeding five, but probably made enough for seven or eight (we had it for lunch today, as well).
I really should have taken a photo, but I was too busy eating.
- Most of a bulb of garlic, chopped quite finely
- About an inch and a half of ginger, chopped at least as finely
- A healthy shake of turmeric
- 6-8 medium-large carrots, quartered and sliced
- Big bag of kale, in small strips
- Large bowl of fresh broad beans, removed from their pods
- Two red peppers, sliced
- A courgette, quartered and sliced
- A little Chinese vinegar
- Tablespoon of miso
- Teaspoon of mustard (Dijon)
- Enough sunflower oil
- Rice, cooked in the normal way
- Prepare all the vegetables.
- Heat oil to a medium-high temperature.
- Add garlic to a large frying pan or sauce pan, stir until just starting to turn brown (a minute or two).
- Add carrots and ginger along with some turmeric, and stir enough to keep it all from sticking.
- Steam, parboil or microwave broad beans (I microwaved for around three minutes with a little water, and discarded the water – I think this removed most of the bitterness from their skins).
- Add broad beans, courgette and red pepper to pan. Turn down to medium heat. Add a couple of splashes of vinegar.
- Mix the miso and mustard with a little warm water and a little vinegar to dissolve.
- Add kale to the pot, and stir thoroughly. Like other brassicas, kale only needs a few minutes to cook, and starts losing its flavour and gaining a sulfurous aroma after that.
- Turn off the heat and toss the miso mixture over the vegetables.
- Serve with rice.
Sometimes I get seized by a vision of something I think I could cook, that I’ve never heard of anybody else cooking but which feels to me like it could be really, really good. Every now and then it turns out that I’m wrong, and my crazy ideas don’t add up to something delicious after all. Most of the time though, I find that I am right and make something I’m really happy with, like chocolate risotto with chestnuts and pears.
For once I pretty much know how much I used of each of the ingredients, because I followed the risotto essentials from the excellent mushroom risotto recipe (one of the few recipes I’ve ever actually followed as such) in The Vegetable Book, by Colin Spencer (one of my all-time favourite books). This provided a good-sized helping for three people, possibly greedy people. You could probably feed four average-sized stomachs without too much trouble. I would describe this as semi-sweet – enough so that it feels indulgent, but not insane, for this to constitute a main evening meal.
- 2/3 cup of arborio rice
- 2/3 cup of white wine and/or sweet sherry
- 150g of chestnuts (100g dried, reconstituted)
- Loads of cocoa. Um, about 50g maybe?
- 7 tbs of coconut oil, or a mix of oil and butter or whatever, if you’re not vegan – this may be more than is strictly necessary
- 4 pears
- A little salt
- The juice and rind of about half a lemon
Get the chestnuts ready to go, first – I used dried chestnuts that needed boiling for 10 minutes and then draining and clearing of a few bits of brown skin. You can probably get them in tins or cook fresh ones on an open fire, whatever works for you. They need to be in small pieces, so break them or chop it up quite finely. Once they’re ready you need to chop up the pears into smallish chunks, ready to go.
Melt the coconut oil and add the pears together with the chestnuts, lemon, salt and spices, then once they’ve started to soften add the rice and cocoa. Mix well, so the rice starts to take up the flavours around it, then add 1 and a quarter cups of hot water and bring to the boil. Simmer with the lid on for eight minutes, then let it stand for five. Check that the rice is well cooked – if it’s not, you might need to add a little more water and turn the heat back on for a bit.
Note: Although this was off the top of my head, I’m not the first to have invented it. I’m okay with that.