What We Ate Wednesday

I love risotto and it's not difficult to make, though it does require attention since constant stirring is necessary, along with slowly adding broth every couple of minutes. I came across this recipe and knew Dave and I would love it and it was a hit. It called for poblano peppers, which I even went to a Mexican grocery store to get, but couldn't find, so pasillas were a great substitute. They had just the right amount of heat, balanced with sweetness from the corn and creaminess from the rice and cheese. The only thing I'd possibly add next time is bacon -- making this vegetarian was already a stretch and while it was delicious, corn and bacon go so well together, I don't think I'd pass it up next time.

Corn Risotto-Stuffed Pasilla Peppers

8 large fresh pasilla peppers
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup beer, preferably a light Mexican beer (I used a Modelo and it worked fine)
2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2-3 cobs)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
cayenne pepper and/or paprika to taste

Preheat the broiler and arrange the peppers in a  single layer on a sheet.  Broil, turning every few minutes, until the peppers are charred and blistered all over.  Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 10 minutes.  When the peppers are cool enough to handle, gently rub off the skins, and cut a slit lengthwise in each chile.  Carefully scrape out the seeds and ribs.  Set the peppers aside while you make the risotto.

To make the risotto, heat the stock in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, and bring to a slight simmer.

In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until it's softened and translucent, 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and salt, and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the rice and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until it's lightly toasted.  Pour in the beer and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Simmer until it's mostly evaporated, 1-2 minutes.

Ladle 1 cup of the warm stock into the rice mixture and simmer until it's been absorbed, stirring frequently.  Add the remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the stock to be absorbed into the rice before the next addition.  Continue to stir often.

The total cooking time should be 25-30 minutes.  Along with the last addition of the stock, add the corn. The risotto will be a bit thicker than a typical risotto.

Remove risotto from heat and stir in the Monterey Jack cheese and 3 tablespoons of the cilantro. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary, as well as paprika and/or cayenne pepper.

Carefully fill each chile with the risotto.  Arrange the stuffed chiles in a single layer in a baking dish, top with a bit more shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and cheese is bubbling.

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