Roasted beet and beet green risotto with farmer’s market goat cheese (and 100th post!)

It’s kind of ironic that I made risotto last night and woke up to this in my inbox today: http://www.foodpolitics.com/2013/09/arsenic-in-rice-another-food-issue-to-worry-about/

According to Consumers Union, adults can safely have up to 2, quarter cup (uncooked) servings of rice per week. After my lunch of leftovers today, I will have hit this quota. No more rice this week!

Actually, I’m not sure exactly where my rice came from– some regions are safer than others. I used a short grain brown rice for this risotto, which I found in the bulk isle of my grocery store. I will check out its provenance next time I’m there. For now, fingers crossed that it’s low in arsenic.

Now, onto the risotto!

Beets are one of my favorite foods. I always want to use the greens, but when I purchased beets from the grocery store in St. Louis, the greens were often in decay, and wound up in the garbage disposal. However, things have changed: the bunch of beets I bought at the farmer’s market on Sunday had a gorgeous plume of greens, so I thought that this recipe for Risotto with beet greens and roasted beets, from the New York Times Recipes for Health series, that I remembered seeing and salivating over long ago, would be perfect. You can link to the original recipe here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/07/health/nutrition/07recipehealth.html?_r=0

I made a few changes to the recipe– most notably, my addition of goat cheese instead of parm. I highly recommend this swap!

Before we go to the recipe, this is a really good dish to make portions of ahead of time. For instance, I parboiled the rice and roasted the beets several hours before I planned to make dinner. According to the NYT recipe, you can keep the roasted beets in the fridge for 5 days, so you could do the roasting way ahead, if you want to make this dish on a weeknight but would prefer to eat before 10:30!

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Ingredients

1 bunch beets with greens

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup short grain brown rice, parboiled (instructions for parboiling at the end of the post)

1/2 cup dry white wine, or rose

4 Tbsp goat cheese (more or less to taste)

4 cups veggie broth

Method

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the greens from the beets, leaving 1 inch of stem on each beat. Also leave the beet’s tails intact.

Wash the beets and place them in a oven-safe dish with a lid. Add 1/4 inch or so of water to the dish and roast with lid on for 40-60 minutes, depending on the size of your beets. If your beets are teensy-tiny, they may cook in 30 minutes or less. Conversely, if they are gargantuan, you’ll need more like 60 minutes. You want to take them out when a knife pierces all the way through with no resistance. Let them cool and then cut the stems and tails off. Peel with your hands by rubbing skin under running water. It should peel off easily. If not, use a peeler. Dice the beets.

Wash your greens well. Often they’re pretty dirty. Cut the stems off and immerse the greens in a bowl of water. Slosh them around with your hands, drain water, repeat, until the water is clear and the green are clean.

Remove the thick middle vein from the greens with a knife or scissors, and cut the greens into 1 inch strips. I really ended up with 1 inch squares of greens, because I didn’t want really long strips. Up to you.

Heat the oil in a large, high-rimmed skillet and add the onions. Cook for a few minutes (NYT says 3, or until onions are softened).

Add the garlic and rice, stirring constantly, and cook for another 3 or so minutes.

Now add the wine and stir. You want the wine to cook off, but not too fast. You should have some bubbling action. If you don’t, turn up the heat.

Once the wine is cooked off, start adding stock in 1/2-1 cup amounts. You want to stir a lot and keep adding stock once it cooks down. If you’re using brown rice like I did, this stage will go slower than it would with traditional arborio rice. Be patient. It will absorb more than you think.

After about 10 minutes of this, add the beet greens and beets, and enough stock to cover them. Keep adding stock as needed for 10 or so more minutes.

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At this point, your rice should be a nice consistency– not mush, but not hard by any means. When you deem the consistency to your liking, turn off the heat.

Dish the risotto into bowls and add about 2 Tbsp goat cheese to each bowl.

IMG_1229Stir to allow cheese to melt, and watch in awe as your deep crimson dish turns a beautiful pink.

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Season with salt and pepper, and go eat!

Instructions for parboiling, a la Mark Bittman:

Put your rice in a sauce pan and cover with ample water. Heat and let come to a boil. Don’t stir or disturb the rice. Let is gently boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and strain, rinse with cold water. Now your rice is parboiled and ready to become delicious risotto!

 

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