I’ve met a some friendly, slightly unhinged goats in my life. I have a fondness and respect for them. Pictured above is a friendly nannie goat and I at a friend’s family farm. Good times.
But I have always been terrified of goats cheese. It is too pungent for my taste and if you are Chinese, you may know the word “Soh”. “Soh” refers to a despised goat/sheep smell, not exactly endearing.
A couple of years ago, I realised that goats cheese was tolerable as an ingredient. Like any pungent food, like anchovies, fish sauce, even garlic, on their own, they can be overwhelming – but paired with other, gentler foods, they can be wonderful. I mean, I love using fish sauce but I wouldn’t knock back a shot of Golden Boy’s smelly brew.
Always looking to expand my growing edge, to broaden my stinky horizons, I decided to take the beaded lady by the horns and cook something with goats cheese for the first time.
No stock risotto
I’ve opened Pandora’s box and it is filled with risotto. Ever since I made risotto for the first time, I’ve been wanting to make it more and more. This recipe I made at home and uses no stock. Why? Because I didn’t have stock. I was curious to see if this could be made without stock. My first risotto used one of my favourite ingredients. This risotto uses one of my most despised ingredients. It’s a risky business.
I used 2 regular beetroot and 1 golden beetroot, but feel free to use all regular beetroot. The colour will be lovely either way. Our Honesty Boxes are giving us a lovely bounty of beetroot and herbs. It seems a shame not to show these off.
Beetroot and Goats Cheese Risotto
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 7 cups water
- 3 beetroot, peeled and diced
- 1 knob butter
- 2 tablespoons picked fresh thyme
- 100g (3.5oz) Chevre or soft goats cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (parmesan)
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Fresh black pepper
- In a small saucepan, heat the water to boiling, then turn down to simmer for the duration of the cooking time. Using hot water keeps the risotto temperature from fluctuating too much.
- Put a sauté pan or other walled frying pan to medium heat and add oil and onions, beetroot and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add rice, salt and garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot water to the rice and turn the heat to the lowest setting. You don’t want to boil the rice, you want it to swell from absorbing the liquid. No boiling, not even a simmer, barely even a bubble is fine. Stir rice occasionally, pushing rice from the sides for approximately 5 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Keep adding the water 1 cup at a time every 5 minutes or so until the rice is cooked (about 45 minutes to an hour), with a tiny bit of bite in the centre. The rice should taste cooked. Towards the end, add less liquid at a time and let it absorb before adding more. The risotto should be more liquid than dry as it will dry out a little on standing.
- While the risotto is cooking, chop or break up the goats cheese.
- Once the risotto is cooked, take off heat, stir through the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and butter. Leave for 5 minutes to settle, then taste and adjust seasoning if required.
- Serve with topped with the goats cheese, a sprinkling of thyme and a slice of lemon.
To make a lemon garnish, take 1 slice of lemon, remove any seeds and cut a slit through a radius (peel to centre) and then twist the lemon as if the two halves are legs and the slice is doing the splits.
Not bad. The goats cheese melted on contact with the hot risotto making rather lovely, oozy bursts of flavour against the sweet risotto. The Koala claimed he enjoyed it too. Am I a convert? We’ll see.
This post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event to encourage us to try new food related things. Marija from Palachinka is the host for month’s event. If you have a blog and have cooked, eaten or experienced a new food this month, come and join this event.