Showing posts with label risotto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label risotto. Show all posts

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Liss Ard Menu

The next book in my County Cork Mysteries, Many a Twist, will be released next Tuesday. All the familiar characters will be there, and a few will spill some secrets, but there will also be some new faces.

While the heart of the story is always Maura’s pub, Sullivan’s, a lot happens in and around an upscale local hotel, based on a real one in Skibbereen, known as the Liss Ard Estate. It started out as a manor house for one of the important local families, but since then it’s served many purposes under many different owners, and right now it’s a hotel (a fate many of the big old manor houses share).

According to their website, the Liss Ard Estate “is a place of enchantment and relaxation set on 163 acres of gorgeous countryside and an amazing 50-acre lake! The country house was built in 1853 by the O'Donovan chiefs and it became the last of their Georgian style houses to be built.”

A smaller building, Lake House, was added to the property as a summer residence for the O'Donovans.

It also has a high-end restaurant (and they report that they serve “an exquisite Afternoon Tea,” by appointment only—I haven’t tried it yet). The menu makes delicious reading, even though I have to laugh at some of the terms they use, like “burnt figs.” But their flavor pairings are intriguing.

So I decided to try to replicate one of their main courses, in honor of Many a Twist. Of course I had to tweak it a bit, but I’m aiming for the spirit of their dishes.

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil and Crispy Onions


1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms (I used a mix of mushrooms)

Note: wild mushrooms seem to flourish in late fall in Ireland. I assume the Liss Ard chefs use what is available. These are some that I’ve seen (and no, I didn’t cook any of them).

I have no idea what these are, and, no, I didn't eat
any of them! But they were thriving in November.
5 cups broth (chicken, beef, or 
2 Tblsp finely chopped shallots
3 Tblsp butter
2 Tblsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups uncooked rice (preferably Arborio)


In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a slow simmer and hold it at that temperature.

Melt the butter in another saucepan and add the oil.  Add the shallots and sauté until they are translucent (do not brown).  Add the chopped mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms give up their juices.

Add the rice and stir until the rice grains are well-coated with the butter-oil mixture.  

Add one-half cup of the simmering broth and stir until the rice absorbs all the liquid (make sure you get all the grains clinging to the sides of the pan).  Then add another one-half cup of liquid and continue to stir over low heat, making sure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom. Continue adding the broth and stirring, but wait each time until all the broth is absorbed before adding any more (yes, this takes some time, and a lot of stirring, but the result is worth it).

Toward the end it will take longer for the broth to be absorbed after each addition, but you will notice that the mixture is becoming creamy.

After about 20 minutes, taste a single grain of rice to see if it is cooked through. If the core of the grain is still hard and white, continue adding liquid and testing until it's done. In total it should take about 30 minutes.  Don't worry if you didn't use all five cups of the broth—rice can vary. Taste a bit and add salt only if needed.

Crispy Onions


1 large yellow onion (or two smaller 
   ones)2 eggs
2 Tblsp whole milk
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
vegetable oil for frying (to a depth of two inches in your pan)


Slice the onion into quarter-inch slices, then cut each slice into quarters. Toss to separate the small pieces.

Heat two inches of oil in a deep-sided skillet or fry pan (I used my mother’s crock pot, which doubles as a fryer) to 350 degrees.

In a mid-size bowl, mix the eggs and milk together. In a second bowl, mix the flour and spices together.

Gather up a handful of onions at a time, and dip them into the egg mixture. Let the excess liquid drip off. Then place the onions in the flour and toss to coat. Again, shake off the excess (if they seem too gummy, you could use a sieve and shake well).

Place the onions in the hot oil (watch out for spatter!) and cook until they are golden brown. (Do not crowd or they might boil over—you can do this in batches, but be sure to let the oil reach the proper temperature before adding the next batch.)

Crispy onions!

Remove the onions from the oil and place on paper towels to absorb the oil.

You will note that the Liss Ard dish includes truffle oil. I actually have truffle oil! (And truffle butter too!). I’m not sure where it goes. Use sparingly, because it has a strong flavor. You can sprinkle it over the cooked risotto to amplify the taste of whatever mushrooms you’ve used, or over the onions, or both.

The risotto is creamy, and the onions add a nice bit of crunch as well as flavor.

And here's the book!

How far would you go to protect your family? 

Pub owner Maura Donovan hasn’t seen her mother for over twenty years, so when she suddenly shows up in Maura’s pub, Maura’s not sure what to expect. Her mother made a new life for herself back home and has taken up a position working with the new owners of the Crann Mor hotel just outside Skibbereen. Then her new boss is found dead in the hotel gardens, dumped down the hillside behind the hotel.

Now, trying to rekindle the relationship they’ve lost, Maura must investigate the man’s death in order to clear her mother’s name. It’s not so easy though, as long-time residents of County Cork, including her employee Mick, and the family of the deceased hotel owner, have bottled deep dark family secrets not meant to be uncorked. And someone will kill to keep them that way.

The reviews have captured the heart of the story.

“Plenty of puzzles with a strong feeling for life in small-town Ireland.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Connolly vividly evokes rural Ireland, and her characters seem like real human beings trying their best to navigate their lives.”
Publishers Weekly

Coming January 9, 2018, from Crooked Lane Books. Available now for preorder!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Ina Garten's Easy Parmesan Risotto

There are times when someone figures out how to make a tedious task easy and just as delicious as the original recipe. Ina Garten has done just that. In one easy-peasy recipe, she has done away with stirring risotto. I'm really serious. A total beginner could make this.

I admit that, as much as I like Ina Garten, I had my doubts. No stirring? It seemed impossible. But the recipe (found here) has five stars and a whopping 181 reviews. I had to try it. Plus, I got to use my Staub Dutch oven, which has yet to produce anything that wasn't wonderful.

This is the best risotto ever.

And it's pretty much a dump recipe! There's next to no preparation. That means it's perfect for company. While it cooks itself, you can worry about other dishes, and your guests will rave about it. I served it to company, and everyone loved it.

Hmm, now that I think about it, I don't believe I simmered the chicken stock first . . . and it was still delicious!

Be forewarned, it makes quite a bit. I have no idea whether it can be frozen, because we were little piggies and eagerly ate the leftovers until they were gone.

Ina Garten's Easy Parmesan Risotto

Dutch Oven

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups chicken stock (divided 4 + 1)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 10-ounce package frozen peas

Preheat oven to 350. Bring chicken stock to a simmer. Place the rice in the Dutch oven and add four cups of simmering chicken stock. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Add the remaining one cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan cheese, white wine, butter, salt and pepper. Stir for two to three minutes. It should be thick and creamy. Add the frozen peas and stir them into the rice. Serve hot.

This is how it starts. Easy, easy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Zucchini Shallots Risotto #recipe from @DarylWoodGerber

Ack! Going crazy this week. So much has changed in my life. My husband just got diagnosed with diabetes, and it's been a hectic learning curve. Poor guy. I ache for him. Fortunately, he knows a few people who are also diabetic, and they've encouraged him. It's not "that hard," just different!

I've been to the store and back a dozen times trying to get the right juices, the right foods. I've found some sugar-free Swerve to put into muffins and such. It's like Splenda only better, I've been told. Luckily my sweetie is not a real sweets eater. He loves carbs, so we have to tailor that to the new diet. And he loves juice. He's always thirsty, but water doesn't satisfy! Ocean Spray has been a god-send. And Snapple peach tea.

Re: baking - I've been experimenting with baking with this Swerve, recommended on a couple of sugar-free sites. I'll share a few recipes soon for our sugar-free fans!

That said, after taste-testing sweets, I personally had a craving salt. Since I need to eat gluten-free, I whipped up this fun, easy risotto for me. I served it with roast chicken. (We both got that. Lots of protein on a diabetes diet.)

So here you, go. Easy, tasty, perfect as a side dish!

PS I'm gearing up for the release of FUDGING THE BOOKS. It comes out in August. Lots planned. A launch party with door prizes. A newsletter giveaway. And more. you know that for a limited time (a few more days), the 2nd in the series INHERIT THE WORD, is available for e-readers only at $1.99 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo??? And I just learned a couple of the other titles on e-readers are going at $5.99. A steal!! -- This is the book that has the grilled cheese competition in it! Enjoy!

(serve 4)

1 cup chopped zucchini, green & yellow
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
3 - 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup risotto rice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Extra cheese for topping


Be patient. This takes time but the result is incredible. Dice the zucchini. Measure 1 cup. Dice the onion and scallions. Set all aside.

Meanwhile bring 3 cups of the stock and the ½ cup of wine to a boil in a saucepan and reduce the heat. Keep at a simmer. Very important.

In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the squash, onions, and scallions; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. I like mine extra golden.

Stir in the rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir for about 3 minutes. Then add a ladelful of hot stock/wine mixture to the rice and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Don’t add too much stock at once and make sure it is hot; otherwise, it will stop the cooking process for the rice. Continue to add stock, a ladelful at a time, until absorbed. The entire cooking process takes about 30 - 40 minutes.

Start tasting for doneness after 15 minutes. The rice should be tender, not too chewy. If you’ve used all the stock and the rice is not yet “al dente,” heat another cup of stock or water and add ladlefuls, as before. Taste.

Add the cheese. Stir in completely. Serve hot and top with parmesan.

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

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