Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Butter Bean Risotto with Chard and Fried Okra

My subscription to Bon Appetit magazine started almost a year ago when my sister- and brother-in law were kind enough to sign me up for Christmas. Since then, I've enjoyed so many fun photos, articles, how-tos, and more. That being said, I look forward to receiving them every month. When I moved overseas three months ago, I updated my mailing address on the ONE magazine I receive and hoped that the change would take place immediately -- not so. A couple phone calls and emails later, I know that my dad and his girlfriend have safely received them instead. (I'll take knowing where they are and who they're with over imagining them left to the fate of the dear USPS.)

SO! When my friend Jillian visited last month, she brought a suitcase filled with things from my parents back home - including two very-missed Bon Appetits. After thumbing through them a couple of times, I kept finding myself drawn to the Daily Specials section of the September 2010 issue. This recipe comes from Cotton Row in Huntsville, Alabama and is a delicious, creamy risotto (with an extra punch of protein from the beans) and a side of Southern warmth served up in one night. How could it not be nearly perfect? :)

Ingredients for Okra:

  • 1/2 C 1/2-inch pieces trimmed fresh okra (I had to use frozen, but was tickled I could find even that out here!)
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1/2 C yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 C olive oil
Ingredients for Risotto:
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 C (packed) 1/2-inch squares Swiss chard (from about 3 large leaves)
  • 4 C low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 C chopped onion
  • 3/4 C arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 1/4 C dry white wine
  • 1 15- to 16-oz. can butter beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
Directions for Okra:

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Place okra in small bowl; pour buttermilk over. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain off buttermilk.
  2. Place cornmeal in medium bowl. Mix in salt and pepper. Add okra; toss to coat.
  3. Heat oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add okra; saute until brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. (Do ahead: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 375-degree oven 5 minutes before using.)
Directions for Risotto:
  1. Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add chard and toss until wilted and tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  2. Bring broth to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to very low and keep broth warm.
  3. Melt 1 tbsp butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; saute until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add rice; stir to coat well, about 3 minutes. Add wine; simmer until wine evaporates, stirring constantly, about 1 minutes. Add 1 cup broth. Simmer until absorbed, stirring almost constantly, about 2 minutes. Continue to add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, simmering until broth is absorbed each time and rice is creamy and just tender, stirring almost constantly, about 18 minutes longer. Mix in chard, then beans, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon butter. Season risotto with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide risotto among bowls; sprinkle with okra. Pass more Parmesan alongside. 

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