|Potato Risotto with Mushrooms and Bacon|
Surfing the net one evening, I came across this YouTube video published by the Culinary Institute of America that caught my attention for a couple of reasons. First, it featured Gary Danko. You might not know the name, but he owns a restaurant that bears his name in San Francisco which was awarded a Michelin Star in 2007 (the first year Michelin Guides started reviewing restaurants in the San Francisco/Napa area) and has maintained it every year since. Secondly, my curiosity was piqued because the dish sounded peculiar because I was thinking why would the dish have two starches: rice and potatoes? As I watched the video, I noted Chef Danko substituting potatoes for the Arborio rice.
Apply the risotto method to a rice substitute.
I adapted the recipe found on ciaprochef.com, but I used the YouTube video noted above as a guide. Chef Danko noted that sautéed mushrooms can be added but didn't demonstrate it so I used the mushroom component from the mushroom risotto I published this past February.
4 ounces bacon (approximately 4 slices), cut into batons, then each baton cut in half
2 shallots, minced and divided
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces white button mushrooms
3/4 cup white wine divided
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 russet potatoes (approximately 1 pound each) cut into a brunoise
3-4 cups chicken stock, brought to a gentle simmer
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon chives, minced
1. Prepare your risotto flavorings: Add the bacon to a medium sauté pan and place over medium heat. Cook the bacon, rendering it's fat until crisp, approximately 5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a towel lined plate. Increase the heat, then add garlic and half of the chopped shallots to the rendered bacon fat. Cook until translucent, approximately 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until wilted. Deglaze with 1/2 cup white wine and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over high heat until the wine has absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sweat the remaining shallots until soft and add the potatoes. Deglaze the pan with white wine and stir until evaporated. Add the warm stock, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring occasionally-ensuring the potatoes don't stick to the bottom of the pan and brown. Continue the process of adding stock and stirring until the potatoes are al dente.
2. Reduce heat to low and stir in the butter and Parmigiano, then remove from heat and fold in the mushrooms and bacon. Spoon into warmed serving bowls. Garnish with chives and black pepper, then serve immediately.
Readers that have been following me for a while might remember I struggled with a risotto I published about a year ago. If only I could have encountered this dish then because my appetite to alter a risotto would have been satisfied with this version. This dish's preparation difficulty is solidly at an intermediate level and I would recommend it only after you're familiar with a standard risotto method. (A good example is the mushroom risotto I referred to above.) I can also see the appeal of this dish to a culinary instructor because it highlights the importance of a evenly cut brunoise. Some of my potatoes were uneven in shape so I some potatoes were more al dente than others. (I feared the smaller pieces would dissolve into the risotto.) The dish was strangely reminiscent of a loaded baked potato or a hash but ultimately, both Mrs. Stuntman and I enjoyed this dish and she requested I prepare it again.
In other news, since I published two dishes before it aired on Sunday I didn't have an opportunity to discuss the most recent episode of Next Food Network Star. I'm obviously pleased Danushka has left the competition but let's look at the remaining contestants:
My early prediction of Nikki still stands but Chad has started to grow on me. I evaluate these contestants by answering the question which contestant's TV show would I regularly watch? He has yet to have a negative evaluation and his POV is the most easily marketable across the country with wide appeal. I'd also like to see him contrasted with Bobby Flay because there is a difference between barbecue and grilling, despite the fact that the two terms are incorrectly used interchangeably. To round out my top three, I'd pick Stacey just because she has performed consistently well up until the most recent episode.
My middle three are:
Damaris: She been inconsistent in presentations.
Lovely: She has camera presence but I hate her POV.
Chris: because he has a relatable underdog story, as we discovered this week.
That leaves my bottom three of:
Viet: He doesn't have much to say beyond his victory over Bobby Flay in Iron Chef America.
Rodney (the pie guy): I'm intrigued by his POV but doesn't appear to have the culinary expertise to execute it.
Russell: In this country where it's population is increasingly demanding healthier foods, his POV will be a tough sell and he doesn't have the charisma to keep an audience interested.
Am I wrong? Comment below.