Friday, July 11, 2014

Creamy rice with pork sausage and thyme

Well I should start with a slight disclaimer, the idea of this dish is completely and utterly ripped off, or humble homage to the original, from Loretta on Cuba St. It makes a hearty dinner or a filling warming lunch it can be tweaked and tinkered with to your hearts content. It's a little less labour intensive than risotto, and a little more forgiving, as we're not aiming for al dente but well cooked rice, not falling apart though.

1 Cup arborio rice
1 Litre chicken stock
2 Good pork sausages, removed from casings
1 Medium fennel bulb, finely diced
1 Medium onion, finely diced
3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tsp black pepper
1 Tsp chilli flakes
1/2 Tsp bay leaf powder
6 Sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped off
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Anchovy fillets

If you feel like being a little more indulgent, add 3 tbsp of cream or butter and a third of a cup of grated parmesan to the ingredient list.

Place a pan over a medium heat and add a slug of good olive oil. Soften the onion, garlic and fennel, add the pepper, chilli, thyme, bay leaf powder and cook through.

Add the sausage and anchovy fillets, sauté, breaking the sausage apart, try not to colour too much.

When the sausage has given up its fat, but not browned too much, tip the rice in and stir through. Give it a chance to get coated in the fat and cook a little.

Pour in the vinegar and cook it off.

Tip in a third of the stock and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, cook until almost absorbed, about 5-7 minutes, add another third and cook for a further 5-7 minutes.

Repeat with the last third, you don't want it too thick, the rice should of given up a lot of starch so the liquid should be lush and glossy, while the rice is still loose stir vigorously to release more starch from rice and make the liquid more creamy and homogeneous. Taste and season.

To really gild the lily, beat in the cream and parmesan cheese.

Serve a generous ladleful in a bowl and drizzle over a little peppery olive oil.