Spring is in the air, well sort of. At least it is here in Belgium. And the calendar definitely says it is spring which means that the fresh baby vegetables are beginning to replace hearty root vegetables at the stands in the markets. So what better way to celebrate the new season than with this easy risotto that is filled with the best fresh vegetables that spring has to offer?
Marking risotto is more of a formula rather than an exact recipe. Rice is slowly cooked in a mixture of broth and white wine. When the rice is al dente, you stir in the add-ins of your choice which in this case is the freshest of the baby vegetables I found at the market. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you like or that look good. And the final touch is the creamy addition of both parmesan cheese and creme fraiche (you can substitute sour cream if you prefer) which adds a touch of tang while bringing the entire dish together.
Enjoy the risotto as a meal unto itself or alongside your favorite grilled meat. Just be sure to have the rest of your meal ready before you finish the risotto since it truly tastes best when eaten immediately.
GREEN VEGETABLE RISOTTO
3/4 c green beans, blanched and snapped into 1 inch pieces
3/4 c sugar snap peas
3/4 c asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 small shallot, minced
1 green onion – white part only- mince
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
top with sliced green onion (Green part)
- Fill a medium sized pan with water and bring to a boil.
- Add the green beans, snap peas and asparagus.
- Cook for 30 seconds, drain in a colander and immediately rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Combine the broth and white wine in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the temperature but keep the broth mixture hot.
- In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until it is soft and golden.
- Add the rice and stir to combine making sure each grain of rice is coated with butter.
- Gradually add the hot broth to the rice by the ladleful, stirring to combine after each addition. Continue to stir the rice often to keep it from sticking.
- Continue adding the broth being sure to add the next ladle before the rice has cooked itself dry. Repeat this process until the rice is tender to the bite. You may not need to use all of the broth.
- Prior to adding the last ladle of broth, stir in the vegetables and the green onion to the rice and stir to combine.
- Off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and creme fraiche.
- Top with sliced green onion.
- Serve immediately.
Not all winter cooking needs to be heavy in order to be satisfying. Case in point is this lemon filled chicken dish from Cooking Light. Because the boneless chicken breasts are flattened slightly before cooking this is a quick meal that is perfect for a mid-week dinner. It contains some of my favorite pantry staples–mushrooms, green beans, potatoes and lemons. The lemon brightens the dish which the potatoes and green beans mean you have an entire dinner in a single dish. Simply put, it is delicious and has become a family favorite.
LEMON SKILLET CHICKEN
12 ounces baby potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 3/4-inch thickness
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
8 ounces fresh been beans, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.
- Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the oil to pan. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Add chicken and thyme sprigs to pan; cook 5 minutes or until chicken is browned.
- Flip the chicken. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until chicken is done.
- Remove the chicken from pan.
- Return the pan to medium-high heat.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet.
- Add the potatoes, cut sides down, the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon thyme; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring once.
- Combine the milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
- Add the remaining salt, remaining pepper, flour mixture, stock, lemon, and beans to the pan and simmer for 1 minute or until slightly thickened.
- Return the chicken to the pan, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender.
- Sprinkle with parsley.
This is a fun, flavorful and colorful dish that is sure to brighten the dreariest of November days. It comes from Cuisine at Home magazine and is packed with spicy flavors that warm the stomach. The spices are quite intense, even for this spice loving gal, so if you like your food on the mild side, reduce the amount of spice. The entire dish is delicious but my favorite part (in addition to the fact that it is a one pot meal) is the variety of textures. The green beans remain crisp while the sweet potatoes are soft and mellow and the rice is a bit chewy. I think of this meal as being filled with stomach pleasing happiness in every bite so try it tonight. You are sure to love it.
6 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons turmeric, divided
2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 pound boneless rib eye steak, sliced into thin strips
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup sliced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 cup lite coconut milk
1 1/2 cups peeled & diced sweet potatoes
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup trimmed and halved green beans
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
Sliced chili peppers, for garnish (if desired)
- Combine 2 teaspoons of the curry powder, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of the garam masala, and and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle the spice mixture over the steak strips.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Working in batches, cook the steak and cook until browned on all sides, approximately 2 minutes per batch.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add the butter. Once the butter melts return it to the stove.
- Add the shallots, ginger, and garlic and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat it with the melted butter. Cook 1 minute.
- Deglaze the skillet with the beef broth scraping up any browned bits.
- Add the coconut milk, sweet potatoes, bell pepper, 4 teaspoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the green beans, lime juice and steak. Garnish with chili peppers if using and serve.