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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

January 27, 2016 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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I MADE IT. I’M A SECOND SEMESTER SENIOR.

Basically, I have no idea what just happened to me? One minute I was walking through the door with my space cats backpack in August, and the next I was dragging myself out of school while wearing a Pusheen the Cat onesie and bright yellow sunglasses in January? Confusion?

A heavy snowstorm fell on my town the night after the last day of first semester, and when I awoke the next morning, the world was still, covered in a blanket of lovely white. I felt so peaceful watching the flakes fall from the sky, knowing that I had reached the stressful apex of my high school career and was about to giggle my face off on the ride down. With the heat cranked up and my fuzzy purple blanket wrapped around my shoulders, I took out a pencil and just…wrote. Wrote about everything I’ve felt, everything that’s taken place, everything I look forward to in the next few months. It was so nice to just breathe a sigh of relief, because the past five months have been insanely, insanely stressful at times.

On Sunday night, I decided to cook up this risotto after yoga class. And while it’s a delicious dish, I’ve come to realize that it’s more than that: RISOTTO IS A METAPHOR FOR MY LIFE. I know you are now groaning because I’m about to go off on a tangent, but BEAR WITH ME PLEASE, my English teacher this year doesn’t let me be creative and I need to let my imagination fly somewhere.

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The thing about risotto is that you have to stir it. CONSTANTLY. And it gets annoying at times and your arm starts to hurt and you start yelling at your spoon, but you keep going, because you will ruin that risotto if you stop. And just when you think your risotto is done, you take a bite and even after three additions of liquid, it’s still too al dente. But you keep on keeping on, stirring and tending to that risotto until it’s just perfect. And you eat it and cry because carbs are beautiful, especially on a winter night.

Right now, I’m in the transition: I’m stirring my own personal risotto, and it’s not done yet. I’m getting there, but it’s not ready. I’m still adding things, still adjusting the seasonings, still searching for a balance. I am a very impatient person when it comes to waiting for things, so I get anxious and frustrated and awkward at times, but I just keep going, because I know that a delicious future is ahead of me. And I just gotta breathe and get through it.

But hey, stirring can be fun. I can still sing and dance like a fool. I can still have a conversation with someone sitting across from me and laugh at how adorable that smile is. I can still do a spontaneous yoga pose, still think about the complexities of life, still be myself through all of this stirring. And that’s awesome.

Okay. My risotto metaphor is done now. You may now proceed with your life.

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This was one awesome risotto. I mean, sweet potatoes, fried sage, AND white wine?! Sign me up again. It was heavenly. Ugh. Now I’m hungry again.

So, make this risotto (possibly for me, cough, but wait, I can make this for myself hahahaha) and think deep thoughts about life and then just rejoice in delicious warm carbs. Good.

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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 50 minutes, ish, I don't know, really
Total Time 1 hour, ish
Yield 4 servings

3 tablespoons of olive oil

8 large sage leaves

1 red onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

3 cups (approximately) of vegetable broth

Salt, to taste

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of smoked paprika

1 cup of roasted sweet potato puree

3/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until glistening. Once hot, add the sage leaves, and fry until they are crispy and beginning to turn brown around the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the fried sage leaves to paper towels and set aside.

To the sage-infused olive oil in the Dutch oven or heavy pot, add the chopped red onion and saute with a pinch of salt until beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer, then pour in the rice. Stir frequently for two minutes, then slowly pour in the white wine.

Bring everything to a bubble, then reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring continuously, until all of the wine has been dissolved. Once things start to look dry again, slowly pour in a cup of the vegetable broth and keep stirring frequently until the liquid is again absorbed. Keep repeating this process until the risotto is thick, creamy, and the rice is fairly (BUT NOT TOTALLY) soft when you take a bite.

Yes, you have to stir constantly. Use it as an excuse for why you didn’t do your AP Stats homework. And no, I don’t know how approximately long this is going to take, or how much liquid you’re gonna have to add. Risotto is one of those things where you sit back, relax, taste as you go, and you’ll know when it’s done. Trust me.

When you think the risotto is just about done, add the nutmeg, smoked paprika, roasted sweet potato puree, and salt to taste. Stir continuously to slightly thicken the risotto, about 3-4 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. (Hey buddy, go easy on the nutmeg! It can overpower easily!) When you’re satisfied, stir in the cheese and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately with the fried sage leaves on top. Please pour yourself a glass of wine, because I can’t yet. Thank you.


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Until next time, my loves. <3 <3 <3


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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

January 27, 2016 Print this page

A lot of people get intimidated by risotto, but you really shouldn’t–it’s super easy to make, and it’s a delicious, hearty dinner for a cold winter night. I gave one of my favorite dishes a fresh new spin by frying some sage leaves, adding a splash (a, er, rather large splash) of white wine, and stirring in some roasted sweet potato puree just before serving.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 50 minutes, ish, I don't know, really
Total Time 1 hour, ish
Yield 4 servings

3 tablespoons of olive oil

8 large sage leaves

1 red onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

3 cups (approximately) of vegetable broth

Salt, to taste

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of smoked paprika

1 cup of roasted sweet potato puree

3/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until glistening. Once hot, add the sage leaves, and fry until they are crispy and beginning to turn brown around the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the fried sage leaves to paper towels and set aside.

To the sage-infused olive oil in the Dutch oven or heavy pot, add the chopped red onion and saute with a pinch of salt until beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer, then pour in the rice. Stir frequently for two minutes, then slowly pour in the white wine.

Bring everything to a bubble, then reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring continuously, until all of the wine has been dissolved. Once things start to look dry again, slowly pour in a cup of the vegetable broth and keep stirring frequently until the liquid is again absorbed. Keep repeating this process until the risotto is thick, creamy, and the rice is fairly (BUT NOT TOTALLY) soft when you take a bite.

Yes, you have to stir constantly. Use it as an excuse for why you didn’t do your AP Stats homework. And no, I don’t know how approximately long this is going to take, or how much liquid you’re gonna have to add. Risotto is one of those things where you sit back, relax, taste as you go, and you’ll know when it’s done. Trust me.

When you think the risotto is just about done, add the nutmeg, smoked paprika, roasted sweet potato puree, and salt to taste. Stir continuously to slightly thicken the risotto, about 3-4 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. (Hey buddy, go easy on the nutmeg! It can overpower easily!) When you’re satisfied, stir in the cheese and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately with the fried sage leaves on top. Please pour yourself a glass of wine, because I can’t yet. Thank you.


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Persian Rice

July 30, 2014 Print this page

Almond, raisins, and orange zest…what’s not to love? Delicious beneath a generous scoop of Fesenjan (Persian Chicken and Pomegranate Stew).

Ingredients

Prep Time
Cooking Time 40 min
Total Time 40 min
Yield 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon of ghee (or coconut oil)

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon of ground cardamom

A pinch of ground cloves

1 cup of long-grain basmati rice

1 3/4 cups of water or chicken stock

The zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons of raisins

Directions

In a large skillet, heat up the ghee over medium heat. Once hot, add the stick, ground cardamom and cloves. Once fragrant, about 3 minutes later, pour in the basmati rice. Toast in the ghee and spices until slightly golden, about 5 minutes. 

To the toasted rice, add the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, add the orange zest, and cook until all of the water or stock is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. When all of the liquid is gone, stir in the raisins, turn off the heat, and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork or spoon. 


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Fesenjan (Persian Chicken and Pomegranate Stew)

July 30, 2014 Print this page

This may be one of the best chicken dishes I have ever made. Maybe I’m just a sucker for pomegranate and Persian spices, but seriously…YUM. I recommend serving with Persian Rice.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 2 hr
Total Time 2 hr 15 min
Yield 6-8 servings

2 cups of raw walnuts

2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, breasts, or a combination

1 tablespoon of ghee (or coconut oil)

Salt, to taste

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 large onion, diced into small pieces

2 cups of chicken stock

2 tablespoons of unrefined cane sugar (or coconut sugar)

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of cloves

Directions

Toast the raw walnuts in a skillet over medium heat until just on the verge of charring, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor and process until finely ground. Set aside for later.

Next, chop up the boneless, skinless chicken into bite-sized chunks.

Meanwhile, heat up the ghee in a large, deep pot over medium heat. When hot, add 1/4 of the chicken pieces and sprinkle generously with salt. Once slightly brown on that side (about 4 minutes), flip over and cook on the other side until it slightly browns (about 3 minutes). Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and place on a plate lined with paper towels, and repeat with the remaining chicken until you have none left.

Add the olive oil to the ghee/chicken fat and, when hot, pour in the diced onion. Saute until translucent and beginning to turn golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Return the cooked chicken pieces to the pan and pour in the chicken stock. Increase the heat slightly, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Once the 30 minutes have elapsed, add in the unrefined cane sugar, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, nutmeg, cloves, and the walnuts you ground up earlier.

Re-cover and continue cooking on low heat until the chicken is tender, about 1 hour. Stir every 20 minutes or so to prevent the walnut pieces from sticking to the bottom.

Serve hot with some Persian Rice and either steamed or roasted carrots.


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Fesenjan (Persian Chicken, Pomegranate, and Walnut Stew)

July 26, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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This may be one of the best chicken dishes I have ever made. Maybe I’m just a sucker for pomegranate and Persian spices, but seriously…YUM.

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I fell in love with Fesenjan at Persepolis, a Persian restaurant in New York City that has AMAZING food despite its humble appearance. My best friend Natalie and I both absolutely adored this dish.

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To be honest, I was expecting something more when it arrived at the table. This was pomegranate chicken…why wasn’t it red? And I knew there were walnuts in there, but they seemed to be hiding beneath the surface of the broth.

When I took a bite, everything changed. This chicken rocked. It was sweet, but not cloyingly so, and the meat melted in my mouth as it faded into the background of cumin, cinnamon, and other spices. I was hooked, and I needed to try and make it at home. I simply couldn’t last very long without having this dish again.

I made it once for my parents and once for my good friend Chloe, and since everyone loved it both times, I decided to publish the recipe. I’m very logical, you see.

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(The edible flowers were a gift from Chloe. 🙂 )

If you are ready to have an incredibly flavorful, tender chicken dinner on your table this upcoming week, come along on a trip with me to an idealized version of Iran comprised only of food. AKA let’s get cooking, I’m already hungry thinking about this thing.

Recipe adapted from here.

First, toast 2 cups of raw walnuts in a skillet over medium heat until just on the verge of charring, about 5 to 6 minutes.

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Transfer to a food processor and process until finely ground. Set aside for later.

Next, chop up 2 lb of boneless, skinless chicken into bite-sized chunks. You can use thighs, breasts, or a combination of the two; we prefer dark meat at my house, so I used all thighs.

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I also suggest you shoo away your cat, or else you will not have any dinner at all. That would be sad.

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Meanwhile, heat up 1 tablespoon of ghee (or coconut oil, if you prefer) in a large, deep pot over medium heat. When hot, add 1/4 of the chicken pieces and sprinkle generously with salt. Once slightly brown on that side (about 4 minutes), flip over and cook on the other side until it slightly browns (about 3 minutes). Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and place on a plate lined with paper towels, and repeat with the remaining chicken until you have none left.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the ghee/chicken fat and, when hot, pour in 1 large onion, diced into small pieces. Saute until translucent and beginning to turn golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.

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Return the cooked chicken pieces to the pan and pour in 2 cups of chicken stock. Increase the heat slightly, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Once the 30 minutes have elapsed, add in 2 tablespoons of unrefined cane sugar (or coconut sugar, if you prefer), 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of cloves, and the walnuts you ground up earlier.

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Re-cover and continue cooking on low heat until the chicken is tender, about 1 hour. Stir every 20 minutes or so to prevent the walnut pieces from sticking to the bottom.

Meanwhile, make this delicious orange-raisin rice to go on the bottom. Yum.

In a large skillet, heat up 1 tablespoon of ghee over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom and a pinch of ground cloves. Once fragrant, about 3 minutes later, pour in 1 cup of long-grain basmati rice. Toast in the ghee and spices until slightly golden, about 5 minutes.

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To the toasted rice, add 1 3/4 cups of water or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, add the zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons), and cook until all of the water or stock is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. When all of the liquid is gone, stir in 3 tablespoons of raisins, turn off the heat, and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork or spoon.

To serve, put a scoop of rice on each plate and top with some chicken and sauce. May I suggest some roasted or steamed carrots to go on the side?

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Persian food is amazing. I hope you agree.

Have you had Persian food before? If so, what is your favorite dish? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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