We are now in the fourth week of culinary school and in the kitchen, I’ve found a home away from home. We’ve gotten our groove and fallen into a routine. Knife skills are always first. There’s a comforting sound of knives cutting through vegetables and hitting the boards for the first half hour or so as we prep. I know there are some people who feel a sense of serenity when they organize and clean. That has never been me. However, give me a knife and allow me to chop, dice and slice….Zen (as long as I don’t cut any fingers!).
I like the order and routine of the kitchen as much as I love the flexibility and creativity involved with creating savory dishes. It’s the Yin and the Yang. The reason why, when so many ask me, “Why didn’t you do the pastry program?”, I answer, “It felt too rigid…recipes, formulas…too constricting.” As much as I love going into class and following our routines and recipes, I enjoy coming home and creating something different to share with you.
We continued fabricating meat and putting up stocks this week including; beef, veal, pork and lamb. We also sampled our Duck Confit. I was prepared to hate it based on the way it was cooked (Duck skin was melted to create a liquid which we then used to cover and simmer our duck legs that had been marinated overnight. We then sauteed the duck legs and potatoes in the duck fat to make them nice and crisp on the outside). Very unappealing, right? I’m not a big fatty/fried food person but, if they gave me the bone, I would have licked it. So amazing! I have now become a big fan and will likely be making some Duck Confit for my family soon. Moving on…
We made a brown veal stock on Tuesday and let it simmer until we got back on Wednesday. There are many ways to utilize veal stock (soups, stews, etc.). This time, I just wanted to create a simple recipe using the amazing veal stock we made in class. Risotto is generally made with chicken stock but I figured veal stock would also work well. It did. It added a richness to the dish. Homemade stock is not salty like store bought so the pancetta really helped with the flavor and added a nice crispy texture to the risotto. I still needed to add a good amount of salt, ground pepper and of course, Parmesan. For me, it was rich enough to be a main dish. For others, maybe a side with some lamb chops, shank or osso buco. Either way, it was delicious. Enjoy!
- 2 T butter
- 5-7 slices pancetta, diced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1¼ C Arborio Rice
- ⅓ C dry white wine
- 4 C Veal stock (I used homemade veal stock from class. You can purchase veal stock from the store, homemade or boxed. Just be sure to taste before you add salt. Store bought will likely need none, homemade will need a lot.)
- 2 oz fresh, shredded parmesan reggiano
- ½ C peas
- 1 oz fresh parmesan reggiano, cut into pieces, for garnish
- Put a large saucepan over medium heat on the stove
- Melt butter in saucepan and add pancetta to crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add shallot to pan for 5-7 minutes, until translucent.
- Add arborio rice to pan for 2-3 minutes until coated and slightly cooked
- Splash white wine over arborio rice and allow to absorb, stirring continuously for additional 2-3 mins
- Add ⅔ veal stock, bring to boil and simmer, continuously stirring and adding in additional stock in 3 parts until absorbed over 20-25 minutes total.
- Add peas and shredded parmesan after 1st 10 minutes.
- Mix in pancetta when finished and garnish with additional parmesan cheese.
- Serve and enjoy!