17 November 2016
This week on Knidos Cookery Club, we’re featuring beetroot as the basis for a rip-roaringly red risotto.
In Turkish, if you want to say something is, for instance, very blue, then you add a prefix. By adding mas to mavi (blue) you end up with masmavi. As an example, to talk about the deep blue sea you could say Masmavi engin deniz.
A rich red colour, such as that imparted by beetroot, would come out as kıpkırmızı, or, in English, rip-red, which seems a perfect way to describe out beetroot risotto. To add a Turkish-edge to the dish, we used coarse bulgur wheat, but you can use arborio rice if you prefer.
We added some walnuts to the mix, as they combine so well with the sweet edge of beetroot. This is quite a common combination – in Georgia walnuts are blended with grated beetroot to make pkhali.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
250 g whole, uncooked beetroot
50 g walnuts
100 g coarse bulgur wheat
150 ml red wine
500 ml beetroot cooking water
25 ml olive oil
one medium-sized onion
one garlic clove
one teaspoon dried thyme
one teaspoon dried rosemary
one teaspoon cumin seeds
black pepper and salt to taste
sprig of fresh basil leaves
Boil the washed but unpeeled beetroot in a saucepan for 30 minutes. Put the beetroot in cold water, keeping the water you used to cook the beetroot separate, and then peel and top and tail the beetroot when cool. Put to one side.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan and add the cumin seeds. Cook until the seeds are beginning to burn and then add the diced onion and garlic, dried thyme and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is going translucent.
Add the washed bulgur wheat and stir to coat the grains. Add the glass of wine and stir occasionally until the liquid is absorbed. Add a third of the vegetable stock and keep cooking and stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Add more stock until the bulgur wheat is cooked and the risotto has a creamy consistency and then turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, gently toast the walnut pieces in a small frying pan and chop the beetroot into small, 1 cm cubes. Mix the beetroot and toasted walnut into the bulgur wheat risotto.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves -green ones make a better contrast to the red of the risotto, but we could only find the mauve coloured variety. Serve with a green salad.