Sunday, 10 November 2013

Mushroom, Pea & Blue Cheese Risotto in the Slow Cooker

There once was a large slow cooker in our kitchen, but I broke the lid and didn't replace the cooker. Recently, though, I thought it would be good to go back to the slow method, and bought a very fine (though small - 1.5 litres) slow cooker by Lloydtron. Here it is:
It's only 120watts, and the inner ceramic liner lifts out and is more or less wipe-clean. I am in love with it.

But to business. I believe this recipe to be my best risotto yet. It's not quite 'throw everything in and leave it', as I prefer to add the vegetables and cheese once the rice is on its way to being cooked. For anyone who uses this and has a differently powered/sized slow cooker, timings may be a bit different. 

The recipe would work perfectly well cooked on the hob, and would be faster, but would need a lot more attention - although I have never held with the 'keep the stock hot and add one ladle at a time' plan. The quantity makes 2 generous portions, and using my cooker it took about 1h45m from start to serving. I couldn't offer a picture of the finished dish - had to be served up in a hurry in time for The Archers, and forgot about photo.
Mushroom, Pea and Blue Cheese Risotto

Knob of butter (size of a walnut shell)
1 medium onion, peeled and fairly finely chopped
120g risotto rice 
330ml hot vegetarian stock
80 frozen peas, left to defrost
75g mushrooms, thinly sliced
40g blue cheese (e.g. Danish, Stilton), crumbled
Ground black pepper - about a level tsp

1  Switch the slow cooker to High, and put in the butter.
2  Once the butter is melting, add the onion and rice, and stir to coat it all with butter.
         Leave for 5 mins.
3  Add the stock, stir, and leave for 45 mins, stirring once or twice meanwhile.
4  Add the defrosted peas, the mushrooms, cheese and pepper and mix well.
5  Leave for about 40m, stirring very occasionally, until the stock is absorbed.

And that's it. Plenty of time while it's cooking to play LinkLines, prep a side salad, and have an aperitif.

Other Options
Sweetcorn or broad beans could replace the peas; snipped herbs such as basil, thyme or parsley added towards the end would go well - though perhaps not rosemary unless it's added at the start and so would have plenty of time to soften. Mixed dried mushrooms could be used instead of fresh, in which case they should be covered in boiling water in a bowl, left for 10 minutes, and drained well before adding. Grated vegan hard cheese could replace the blue. Vegetarian white wine could be substituted for part of the stock, although I prefer it as nature intended.

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