Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Purple Rice.

Subtitled: The Hunt For Red Cabbage in October.*

Why are menu descriptions in restaurants so long and pretentious? Because it helps them sell the meal. A restaurant menu would never offer 'cabbage risotto' because no one would order it, would they? Of course not. It doesn't sound very nice.

But it is.

Risotto with leek and red cabbage.

Finely chop an onion and a couple of inches of leek, and score two cloves of garlic**. Saute these in a generous amount of olive oil until just soft.

Pour in a cupful of Arborio rice. Stir the rice to coat in oil. Pour in half a cup of white wine. Then add enough boiling stock to cover the rice. Stir to stop the rice sticking. If you turn down the heat low enough, you can leave it for a while; but remarkably, many stoves can't go down beyond a certain temperature. I used to have an electric stove and found it perfect, but most people don't like them.

Finely slice a couple of red cabbage leaves. Add. They will give off their colour making the rice a beautiful lavender colour. Cook until rice is done, adding more stock as required.

Instead of the usual cheese and butter treatment, try adding a generous spoonful of sour cream over the rice with a shake of paprika on the cream. This turns it into something special, as sour cream has a particular affinity with cabbage, and the sourness is a welcome change from the usual over-oiliness of much risotto.

*Bad pun in tribute to Tom Clancy. (Red cabbage being, of course, out of season by this time of year; but the supermarkets have some in cold storage.)

**Finely chopped garlic can burn, so I leave it whole and just score it instead. When you stir the onions, the garlic skitters around the pan and doesn't burn, whereas small pieces can stick and burn.


Melbourne Girl said...

Same with prunes vs dried plums.
Maggie Beer once said she had a delicious "prune" cake for sale at her cafe/restaurant and couldn't understand why it wouldn't sell...
She changed the name to plum cake and sold out immediately
Go figure

jo rosenblum said...

Love your work...
ever an inspiration...
all sounds delicious.

kitchen hand said...

MG, oddly enough the prune/plume case also applies in literature where faces are said to resemble a prune when ugly or pursed; compared to the rare 'pretty as a plum'.

Thanks, Jo.