Thursday, April 21, 2011

Risotto with Vidalia Green Onions and Blue Cheese

Vidalia green onions (sometimes called spring onions) arrived at Whole Foods this week, and I practically dove at the pile.  This fleeting spring produce is sweeter than regular green onions, and adds a great touch to springtime dishes. The recipe would also work with regular green onions though, or leeks.

  • 4 cups vegan chicken broth (such as Imagine)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups thinly sliced Vidalia green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup crumbled vegan blue cheese (such as Sunergia)
  • 1 teaspoon vegan butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan (but do not boil), then keep warm over low heat.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the Vidalia green onions and carrot; saute for 5 minutes.  Add the rice, garlic, and bay leaf; cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Note: toasting the rice this way heats up the exterior of the rice, which will help it absorb all the liquid you're about to add.

3. Stir in 1 cup broth and cook for 5 minutes, until the liquid is nearly all absorbed, stirring frequently.  Stir in 1/2 cup broth, the vermouth, the salt, and the oregano.  Begin adding the remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and stirring frequently until each portion is absorbed before adding the next - it should take about 25 minutes total (there's a reason they call risotto a labor of love).

4. Discard the bay leaf.  Stir in the blue cheese, butter, lemon juice, black pepper, and parsley.  This risotto makes a great side dish to Match meat (particularly the chicken or pork), or you can also double the portions and serve as a main dish.  Either way, I highly recommend a glass of vegan Sauvignon Blanc on the side.

*It took a little bit of research to dig up a vegan vermouth.  Luckily, I found confirmation from several online glossaries of vegan liquor that Nouilly-Prat is not filtered through any animal products.  Definitely seek it out, since the more common Martini & Rossi is not vegan.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (3/4 cup), Calories 366 

Tasting Notes:
A pleasant risotto, but I would make a few changes.  It was both the Vidalia green onions and the blue cheese in the recipe title that drew me to this dish, yet I wanted more flavor of both in the final product.  I recommend doubling the amounts of each, therefore.  My risotto was also not quite as tender as I wanted - next time I would keep the broth to nearly a simmer at medium-low heat rather than low, to prevent this from happening. The carrot, though, was tender to perfection, and there was great herb flavor from the bay leaf and oregano.


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