The festive period may be over, but my fridge is still groaning and my freezer… Let’s not even go there. In both cases, I know aside from fruit and veg, we don’t really need to buy anything for, well the rest of January at least.
Which isn’t so bad given that January is always such a tight month.
I’ve been trying to get a little creative with the leftovers too. OK, admittedly the feast day bird ended up in a curry as usual, but when it comes to the cheese, I’m trying to steer clear of cheese on toast. Again.
The idea came from a can of beer in the fridge – some Seven Bro7hers IPA to be exact. Every time I opened the fridge it looked at me, from it’s seat beside the remainder of the cheese board. Now everyone knows beer and cheese are friends, so an idea popped into my head.
And of course, I made it – after all, it is Tryanuary.
So this recipe is a cheese risotto, using a beer instead of wine, or vermouth (or if you’re me, gin or vodka). What type of beer you use, is entirely up to you. I used an IPA as I wanted to cut through the richness of the cheese a little bit, but you could easily use a darker ale.
I’d steer clear of a stout or porter, but a black IPA might be an intriguing on to try – if you like a heap of umami flavour going on.
Cheese wise, I used a mix of remnants. Primarily scraps of a whisky infused cheddar, a ewe’s milk cheese and an unidentified piece of indeterminate origin (we had nine on the cheeseboard, so I lost track). And don’t dismiss brie as an option for the pot either!
Of course, if you’ve still got cheese left after that, it can be chucked in the freezer- and you can make this all over again.
- 30g Butter
- 1tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Small onion, or shallot, finely diced
- 2 Cloves of garlic, crushed
- 300g Risotto rice (carnaroli or arborio are great)
- 200ml Beer
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 litre Chicken or vegetable stock
- 130g(ish) chopped cheese (cheddar, hard cheese, or whatever leftovers you have available)
- Pop the oil and butter into a saucepan.
- Add the onion and cook until it just begins to carmelise.
- Add the garlic, and again cook on a medium heat until it just begins to turn golden brown.
- Add the rice. Stir until it has absorbed the fat, and just starts to stick to the pan.
- Add the beer. Once it's reduced to almost nothing, start adding the stock, one ladleful at a time.
- Keep going until the rice is al dente.
- Then add the mustard, cheese and stir until both are totally incorporated.
- Serve in a bowl on it's own with a grinding of black pepper, with a crisp salad, or with gently roasted tomatoes.
- If you have any cream cheese hanging around in the fridge, add a spoonful at the end for a creamy finish.