This year, within a week of posting my Porcini Mushroom Risotto, the Daring Cooks announced the March 2010 Risotto Challenge. Not to worry, I'm not complaining. Risotto is so delicious and versatile, we make it quite often. This month's challenge simply provided me with incentive to try a new version.
I pondered ingredients and flavor combinations for a few weeks, and ultimately obtained my risotto inspiration from three sources: The Farmers' Market, one of our fabulous meat markets, and Il Fornaio.
First, we took a leisurely Saturday morning stroll around our local Little Italy Farmers' Market, and came home with a beautiful, fresh Chanterelle Mushroom and a bag full of Fava Beans...
Here's a Guide to Shelling Fresh Fava Beans - it is a bit labor intensive, but well worth the effort. Two pounds of fresh Favas yield about one cup of fully shelled beans.
As I was writing this post, John reminded me of Dr. Hannibal Lecter's quote in Silence of the Lambs, "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."
John collected sea shells and coral during his Navy Deep Sea Diving days and instantly recognized the striking resemblance of our Chanterelle to his Mushroom or Razor Coral. He found this piece of coral in the waters of Subic Bay, Philippines.
After the Farmers' Market, we took a drive over to Siesel's Old Fashioned Meats for a couple veal shanks...
And third, we pulled out our timely "door prize" from Il Fornaio, a box of Risotto Al Tartufo Nero, carnaroli rice with bits of summer truffle. Il Fornaio offers a little gift each month when your order off the Regional menu. I was set to go!
Now, for the official Daring Cooks' blog checking line:
The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.
Here's my version...
Braised Veal Shank with Chanterelle, Fava and Truffle Risotto
Braised Veal Shank ingredients and preparation:
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 veal shanks, tied (ours weighed a little over 1/2 lb. each)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery
1 large shallot, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 bay leaves
1 thyme sprig
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof pan. Season the veal shanks with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until well browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the butter to the pan, and then add the onion, carrot, celery, shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the wine and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
Return the veal shanks to the pan and add the bay leaves and thyme. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Cover and bake for 1 hour. Turn the shanks over, cover and bake for another hour, or until the veal is very tender. Keep warm while you prepare the risotto.
Risotto ingredients and preparation:
4-5 cups veal stock
(Here is a funny and excellent post on homemade veal stock. Although we were supposed to make our own stock for this challenge, I didn't. Sorry, but it just didn't happen this time. I used this, available in gourmet markets, with nice tasting results. If I had the room in my freezer to store containers of homemade stock, which I don't, or if I was serving this risotto for a dinner party, which I wasn't, I would buy 10 lbs. of veal bones and prepare homemade stock)
8 oz. fresh Chanterelle mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup fresh, fully shelled fava beans
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan and keep warm over very low heat.
Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring, until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes (the rice should absorb 4-5 cups of broth). Add the fava beans during the last few minutes. Off the heat, add diced butter and stir to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide risotto between two plates, and place a braised veal shank in the center of each plate and garnish with gremolata.
For the Daring Cooks' Comfort Food from the Heart Risotto recipes, please visit The Daring Kitchen Recipe Archive, here.
Thank you, Eleanor and Jess, for hosting this challenge!
Be sure to visit your local Farmers' market and support your local farmers!