Thursday, June 6, 2013

Guajillo Risotto Cups



Guajillo Risotto Cups
(serves 2-4)

This dish combines Mexican flavors with Italian technique to create a delicious marriage of flavors and textures. Guajillo peppers are typically mild so use a hotter pepper if you prefer more spice. Personally, I enjoy the crisp nature of the raw bell peppers against the creamy consistency of the risotto. However, if you prefer your peppers to be cooked, you can simply place them in a foil covered baking dish (after assembled) and bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Ingredients:
 
-3-4 medium bell peppers
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- ½ lb lean ground beef
- 2 Guajillo Chiles (or your favorite dried chile peppers)
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 lime
- Handful fresh cilantro (chopped with a few sprigs reserved)
- ½ yellow squash - diced (optional)



Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (if you plan to cook the peppers).

In a large dutch oven, over medium heat, brown the ground beef and then add the diced onions, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened. Add the cumin, chili powder and ground pepper to taste.




As the meat and onions are cooking, begin to heat the chicken stock and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low keeping it at a gentle simmer with the pot covered.

Remove the stems (and seeds if desired) from the guajillo peppers by breaking off the stems and shaking the seeds out of them.

Place in a food processor and grind until the peppers become small flakes.

 


Pour the ground peppers into the chicken broth and water mixture and re-cover.




Add the Arborio rice to the beef and onions, allowing it to “toast” in the pan for a minute or two. This step is very important because it will prime the rice to absorb the liquid.




When the rice has toasted, reduce heat to medium-low and add one to two ladles-full of the 
hot liquid to the pan. 




Allow the rice to absorb the liquid almost completely before adding more liquid to the pan. Repeat this process, adding more liquid after the rice has absorbed what was in the pan, and stirring gently, pushing the rice back and forth with a spoon. Do not stir vigorously.





As the rice is cooking, cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the stem and seeds by cutting around the top. Set aside.




Add the chopped cilantro and the lime juice to the risotto with a ladle-full of broth and gently stir to combine.

 


When the rice is tender add the diced squash, along with a ladle or two of liquid, to the risotto and salt to taste.




Continue cooking until the squash has softened and the risotto is creamy and has a “melt in your mouth” texture”.
 
If you still have some of your cooking liquid left, pour it through a fine mesh strainer and add any of the accumulated pepper flakes to the risotto. Stir to combine.




To serve: Spoon some of the risotto into each of the bell pepper cups, garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro and enjoy! 



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