Sometimes my incredible chef of a son-in-law prepares our Christmas meal. One time he surprised us with a risotto containing mushrooms, cheese and vegetables. We asked for second and third helpings.
The creaminess of a risotto can’t be beat. And learning to make it last night was pure joy. My husband Bob and I enjoyed Dale’s risotto for supper, and we loved it.
Risotto with Artichoke Hearts
A risotto and a pilaf are quite similar. They are similar in that they can share almost all the same ingredients, but they are different in that a pilaf needs to be fluffy whereas the risotto needs to be creamy. Getting it that way is delightfully easy.
You will need:
1 cup Uncooked Rice 2 Tbs. Butter
4 cups Chicken Stock 2 Tbs. Frozen Green Peas
½ cup Frozen Artichoke Hearts Salt
½ cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
There is little to do. Just grate the Parmesan cheese. Make it a big, heaping ½ cup.
1. Pour the rice and chicken stock into a large sauce pan. You can make the chicken stock by adding four teaspoons of bouillon granules to four cups of water. Of course, homemade chicken stock is always preferable.
2. Cover the pan, and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for fifteen minutes.
3. After fifteen minutes of simmering, take the lid off and turn up the heat to a medium temperature.
4. Add the butter, artichoke hearts and peas. You can use fresh artichoke hearts if you live where you can get the little baby artichokes. Here in Colorado Springs they are not to be found. The frozen ones are the next best thing. Do not use the canned or marinated artichokes. Those are for a completely different purpose. The peas are just to add a little more green color.
5. Now stir while the rice continues to cook and the excess water starts to evaporate. The stirring action is what makes the rice sticky-creamy. When most of the water has evaporated and the rice is still moist, stop. If something went wrong like you simmered it too long and the rice is dry, there is no problem. Just add a little water until it gets creamy again.
6. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir it in. Now it is creamy.
. Taste it and add salt if needed. More than likely it won’t be necessary because there’s salt in the chicken stock. Would you like a little more cheese flavor? Then add more. Make it taste the way you like it.
I’m having this tonight with crispy breaded baked chicken. I’ll share that recipe with you after I have made it a few more times. Don’t tell anyone, but the crumb coating stuck to the aluminum foil. Forgot to preheat the sheet pan!
Food for Thought:
Stirred Up About Our Culture
Today I learned the difference between preparing rice and preparing risotto: Stirring. I was stirred up last week at a Christian Writing Conference—stirred up to live more intentionally, to try to make a difference with the gifts God has given me.
Stepping back from the routine, quotidian days—listening to other writers and speakers tell about how they are trying to impact our disintegrating culture— caused me to re-evaluate my fragmented life.
Our culture is in peril. It’s easy to settle into our easy chairs and grumble about the government and the moral decay we see everywhere. But God wants us to do something about it. And he is a Creative God who values the individual.
At the Writing Conference, several writers spoke about their new ministries. One writer had become increasingly concerned about the growing chaos in high schools, and the Lord stirred her up to begin the B.I.O.N.I.C. Club: “Believe it or not I care.”
She recruited Christian high school students who wanted to serve God and help others. Then she instituted a fun program of caring. Once a week she gives her chapter of students an assignment something like this, “During school today say something caring to ten people.”
“I like your hair that way/ We missed you in class yesterday/Are you all right/How did that test go/ Your speech was amazing/What a pretty blouse! “One can only imagine what a powerful effect 100 high school students could have on the atmosphere of their school with this simple, creative plan. And it’s great to know that there are now 425 B.I.O.N.I.C. chapters in the U.S.
In the Anglican calendar the last Sunday after Trinity Sunday is called Stir Up Sunday. It’s name comes from the prayer in the liturgy for that day. “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.”
When God stirs us up, we may feel challenged to get a move on, to set about something expeditiously. Sometimes we don’t realize we’re been marking time for months, maybe even years. A conference or a time away from the fray with God for a weekend can change your life. It can point you in an exciting new direction.
What is God stirring you up to do today? (Remember the importance of each individual in your life.)