(Out of my book ‘Eating For The Seasons’)
These make a filling, healthy and delicious party food for the festive season. Risotto balls are a great way to use up leftover risotto, too. Feel free to use any vegetable you like if mushrooms aren’t your thing. Try corn and crab; pumpkin and sage; zucchini and mint or organic chicken and feta.
Use organic or pesticide brown rice as apart from it being better for you and the planet, it’s softer than conventional brown rice that sometimes resembles bird seed.
MAKES ABOUT 25 BALLS
1–2 TBSP OLIVE OIL
1 WHITE ONION, FINELY DICED
2 CLOVES GARLIC, CRUSHED
1/4 CUP DRIED PORCINI MUSHROOMS
1 CUP FRESH SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, FINELY CHOPPED
½ CUP ORGANIC, SHORT- GRAIN BROWN RICE
1½ LITRES GOOD VEGETABLE STOCK, SIMMERING
1 CUP HERBS LIKE BASIL, CORIANDER, PARSLEY, FINELY CHOPPED
½ TBSP SHIRO MISO OR 1 TSP SEA SALT (or to taste)
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent. Meanwhile, soak the porcini mushrooms in enough hot water to cover them. When they have softened, drain and reserve the liquid. Chop them then add them to the pan along with the shiitake mushrooms. Now, add the rice to the pan and stir to coat. (If using dried shiitakes – soak them with the porcini, then de-stem and slice.)
Add the soaking liquid from the mushrooms to the simmering stock. Pour the stock into the rice mixture one ladle at a time, stirring continuously. Be sure that all the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next ladle of liquid. Continue adding the stock until the rice is al dente.
Remove from the heat and let the rice cool—this will happen faster if you stick a few metallic utensils in the mixture to let the heat escape. Stir through the herbs and half a tablespoon of the shiro miso paste or sea salt.
Using wet hands, roll a heaped teaspoon of risotto into a tight ball. Continue making – roll until the risotto is used up. Place the balls onto a well-oiled baking tray as you go. Bake for about 15 minutes at 180°C (350°F) until golden brown.
– Roll in rice crumbs before baking
– Once the rice is al dente, add a cup of good quality cheese like organic parmesan or manchego
– Add a teaspoon of thyme leaves and sea salt instead of miso.
– Make seafood balls by using chopped green prawns and ﬂathead ﬁllets. Add them with the last ladle of stock.
– Rather than making balls, serve as a risotto, adding more stock to make it wetter. Serve in bamboo cups
– Add ½ cup of white wine just after you’ve added the rice and coated it in the oil.