Rutabaga Risotto

There is a sandy, dark brown thick… stick… in my bag’o’vegetables. It is about the height of a wine bottle and the width of my fist. Frankly, it is grotesque and I am intimidated by it. The recipe card says it is a “kliswortel”, which means about as much to me as its English name “burdock”. Nothing. A quick Google of the term yielded a handful of pictures of dainty-looking sticks that would not stand a chance if they got into a fight with my one. And very few recipes. Right, well, I’ll deal with that later in the week.

Tonight I tackled a different kind of previously unknown (to me) vegetable my bag’o’vegetables brought: rutabaga, aka swede (koolraap in Dutch). Intimidating in its own way, with chunks of mud clinging to purplish-orange skin and gnarly hairy roots sticking out. When cut in half, though, it is a pretty, deep yellow color. Perfect to bring color to a grey day. Cut into thin matchsticks, it became the basis of a rutabaga risotto with Asian-style flavorings: ginger, coriander seeds, garlic. Quite tasty, if I do say so myself. Let’s hope I get as lucky when I tackle the kliswortel monstrosity.

Rutabaga risotto

Serves 1 (can easily be multiplied)

1 tbsp of vegetable oil
Pinch of ground chiliflakes
Large pinch of ground coriander seeds
Small knob of ginger, finely grated (about ¼ tsp)
Half a small rutabaga, cut into thin matchsticks
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely (but not pressed)
½ tbsp of butter
1 small onion, diced
50 gr risotto rice
½ liter of chicken broth
1 tsp of lemon juice

Melt the butter in a small pan with a thick bottom. Add the onion and cook until translucent, but don’t let it brown. Add the rice, stir and cook for a minute or so, until rice is also translucent. Add about 200ml of broth and bring to a gentle boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 12 minutes, or until soft. Test for softness after twelve minutes, and take of the heat, but let stand in the covered pan for five minutes.

Meanwhile, put the oil in a skillet, add chiliflakes and coriander and heat. When hot, add the ginger and cook for a few seconds. Keep the heat high and add the rutabaga. Stir-fry for six minutes or so, until the rutabaga starts to soften and has brown spots where it has touched the pan. When the rutabaga is quite flexible, add about 100 ml of broth to the pan. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add another 100 ml and cook rutabaga until mostly tender but still a little crisp. By now, most of the second batch of broth will have evaporated.

When rutabaga and rice are both cooked, add most of the vegetable to the rice and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a (heated) plate and top with the reserved rutabaga. Sprinkle with the lemon juice. Serve hot.

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