Beetroot Risotto with Prawns and Horseradish

I’ve recently made this risotto for a dinner with the girls and it turned out to be a very successful dish. Considering that the ingredients are slightly unusual for a risotto, they work so well together. Rich and smooth without an overpowering beetroot flavour, and a pretty dish to serve.

 BEETROOT RISOTTO WITH PRAWNS AND HORSERADISH

(Adapted from ‘Dinner at mine’ by Annie Nochols)

Ingredients:

About 800g small raw beetroots

50g butter

2-4 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 celery sticks, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 large tomato or 2 small ones, chopped

1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock

400g risotto rice

200ml dry white wine

250g cooked peeled prawns

fresh dill to garnish

3-4 teaspoons creamed horseradish

250ml soured cream to serve (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C. Clean the beetroots, leaving the skin on, trim any stringy roots. Wrap up each beetroot in foil and bake for about an hour or until tender. When cooked, remove the beets from the oven, let it cool before peeling away the skin. Grate the beetroots and set aside.
  2. For the risotto, heat the butter and the olive oil together in a large heavy-bottomed pan, add the chopped onion, celery, carrots and cook them on a moderate heat until golden colour and well softened.
  3. Then add the chopped tomatoes and continue to cook for another few minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place the stock in another pan and bring to just below boiling point; keep on the heat.
  5. Add the rice to the vegetable and cook for about 3 minutes or until the grains are slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Now add the grated beetroots.
  6. Then add a ladleful of the hot stock, stir in well and reduce the heat. Keep adding the stock, one ladleful a time, stirring and making sure that each ladleful has been absorbed before adding the next. You don’t need to stir the risotto all the time, but just make sure that it’s not sticking. Continue to cook until the rice is ready and very slightly al dente. 
  7. Once risotto is cooked, remove the pan from the heat, check for seasoning, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  8. For the garnish, mix soured cream with the horseradish, chop the dill. (If you prefer, you can add horseradish straight to the risotto and omit soured cream.)
  9. To serve, spoon the risotto into bowls and top with the prawns, chopped dill and horseradish cream.
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‘Vinegret’, which is not a salad dressing

Please do not confuse with the word ‘vinaigrette’! Vinegret is one of the Russian/Latvian vegetable salads and there are different versions why it’s called so. It can be just because the word was brought from French language (like many other words!) and ‘Russianfied’ or it can be used as a metaphoric description of miss-mash things.

This salad was particularly popular during Soviet times when it was hard to come across fresh fruits and veg, so people used more tinned produce being easier to find and stayed fresh longer. However, although you can easily get fresh vegetables now, don’t consider to swap with fresh peas, use the tined garden peas for an authentic taste.

As well as usual boiled potatoes, carrots, beets, garden peas and gherkins, some variations of vinegret contain sauerkraut. Personally, I like it this way but if you don’t or simply can’t get hold of sauerkraut, you can leave it out. Traditionally salad is served with rye bread and some sort of meat or fish, like cold cuts, sausages or herring.

You can double the ingredients for bigger crowd. Also, this salad is great to cook in advance, not only it can save you time, the taste will only improve if you leave it over night.

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VINEGRET

Ingredients:

1 pack of cooked beetroot (but NOT in vinegar)

3 potatoes

3 carrots

1 tin garden peas

1 cup drained sauerkraut

3-4 pickled gherkins

1/2 onion finely diced

2-3 tablespoons sunflower (or vegetable) oil

salt/peper to taste

handful of fresh cranberries (optional, but good addition, specially during Christmas season)

Method:

1. Wash, but do not peel the potatoes and carrots, place them in a pot of cold water, bring it to the boil, reduce the heat and continue cooking them for about 30 minutes or until the knife goes smoothly through the vegetables. Let it cool completely before peeling the skin off and dice them.

2. Meanwhile diced in roughly equal size cubes of the beets, mix them with a spoon of the oil before adding the rest of the ingredients (this way beetroot colour won’t get on other ingredients as much),then add diced gherkins, onion, place in a bowl along with drained peas. When potatoes and carrots are cool completely, peel the skin off, dice them same way, in cubes and add to the bowl, followed by sauerkraut.

3. Mix it all carefully with the rest of the oil, salt and pepper. At this stage you can always add more gherkins or sauerkraut, if you wish. Adjust seasoning and garnish with handful of fresh cranberries for an extra kick. 🙂

Beetroot Hummus

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I, probably, won’t surprise you with something you never heard about before. Hummus and its variations are very popular food these days. Let it be just a reminder to eat more of it.  It is one of the simplest, healthiest and most delicious summer food!

BEETROOT HUMMUS

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas (about 400g)

300g cooked beetroot

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon tahini

juice of half lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper to season

chopped parsley to garnish

Method:

Place all ingredient but parsley into food processor and pulse  few times to a coarse paste. Adjust the seasoning and add more olive oil, if you wish, to desired consistency. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve it with the warm toasted pittas or as a sandwich filler, or as a topping to anything you want 🙂

Salad Love

I am thinking to have a weekly post on salads, because I have a special place for salads in my heart. However, I am not going to write about the ‘usual’ salads, the salads that the majority of you are familiar with. I’d like to introduce you to the salads I grew up with, salads which came from the Baltics. And let me be honest with you, some of these salads won’t be shy of calories, but don’t let that put you off too quickly, have a go,- little bit of what you fancy in small quantities is good for you and didn’t harm anyone yet. Never the less, I will introduce you to the healthy varieties too (it’s not only about meat, potatoes and mayo!).

Today, I’m going to open the ‘marathon’ with the simple but one of my favourite variety of Potato salads, to be precise..

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HERRING SALAD

Ingredients:

3 medium potatoes

150 g (approx 3 fillets) herring – marinated in oil

100 g cucumbers

100 g cooked beetroot

25 g fine chopped shallots or spring onion

100 g soured cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

salt, black pepper to taste

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Method:

1. Boil the potatoes unpeeled until it is fork tender and cooked through (about 30 mins). Cool it completely, peeled the skin off and cut into small cubes.

2. Cut the cucumbers and herring fillets into similar sized pieces and combine with the potatoes, add shallots (or spring onion).

3. Add soured cream and mustard, salt and pepper and mix into the salad base, combine everything together but gently, do not over mix.

4. Cut the beetroot into the same sized pieces. At this stage you can combine them into the salad mix but I prefer to create a separate lever (see a picture below), otherwise everything will look like a one big pink mess.

You can serve it as a starter or a light lunch with slice of rye bread.

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