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Vodka, Smoked Haddock, Sweetcorn and Pak Choi Risotto - Naturally Gluten Free Food

Published 14 September, 2006

Whilst the husband aka Gluten Free Food Freak was entertaining the baby with her fried grey sole dinner, I was knocking up a quick and easy risotto. I was free-styling the recipe as it was meant to have celery, which the husband can't eat, and yellow beans, which I can't buy locally, in it, so I substituted with what I could find in the fridge. And luck was on my side, as it was jolly tasty indeed.

Here's the deal. As the husband is off out fishing tomorrow, I made a mega portion, so the following quantities would probably feed at least 4 people.

4 pieces of undyed smoked haddock, (preferably bought from Carol, our lovely fish lady on the pier).
500g of Arborio rice (which comes to about 600ml in a measuring jug)
2 measures of vodka (or more if the cook requires a quick snifter before dinner!)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 onions, chopped finely
2 litres or so of stock, preferably chicken
2 Pak Choi, sliced
A healthy amount of cooked sweetcorn

Start by gently frying your onion and garlic in a big pan, in a splash of olive oil. I would normally use butter, but the husband is off dairy too (yes our life has become mightily complicated post www.yorktest.com food allergy test - as if Coeliac disease wasn't enough!). But I digress. Let the onion and garlic cook for 10 minutes, until they go very soft and almost transparent. Meanwhile, make sure your stock is brought up to boil.

When the onions and garlic are done, turn up the heat and throw in your rice. Mix the rice around for about 1 minute, ensuring it all gets coated with the tasty oil. Throw in the 2 measures of vodka, and if your pan is at the right temperature, it should bubble up immediately and the alcohol vapours make you a bit giddy (or is that just me?).

Add a ladle of stock and stir this into your rice mixture. From this point on, it will take about 15 to 20 minutes for the rice to become "al dente", that is, cooked with a little firm bite. I have to put the cooker timer on because otherwise I loose track of time and it goes mushy. Keep adding stock a ladle or so at a time and make sure it's always bubbling gently. Stir regularly to ensure it doesn't stick. It's a myth that you have to stir it constantly I reckon!

Whilst the rice is cooking, throw your fish into the boiling stock and let it poach for 4 minutes. Lift the fish out with a slatted spoon and put to one side. Have your cooked sweetcorn and sliced pak choi ready and waiting too.

Just when you think the rice is nearly but not quite done, add another ladle or two of stock, add the fish, sweetcorn and pak choi and mix, ensuring the fish is broken but not destroyed. Put the lid on the pan and leave for up to 5 minutes to rest. When you take off the lid, the excess stock will have been soaked up, leaving a creamy stickiness to the rice, and the pak choi will be cooked. Serve with steamed veg and make sure you have seconds because it's so tasty. It doesn't need much if any salt, as the smoked flavour takes care of that, but plenty black pepper is nice.

Note: Normally you'd poach the fish in cow's milk but yes, that's out of the question too, so I adapted and cooked the fish in stock instead. I have done it with soya milk, and that worked just fine. You then add the poaching liquor to the risotto ladle by ladle, making it a slightly creamier dish.

And there you have it, a seriously tasty gluten free risotto.

By the time I'd done, baby was ready for some risotto too, and she scoffed loads (even the brocolli!)

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