RECIPE – Heston Blumenthal’s perfect risotto

On the quest for perfect arancini, I have recently completed Heston Blumenthal’s perfect spaghetti and now it’s time to attempt his perfect risotto.

More of my attempts at Heston’s recipes and my experience at his restaurant are here.

The first part for me was sorting through the recipe to find the risotto – his “perfect” risotto has so many separate bells and whistles that I wonder if that can really be perfect risotto. I mean it might be the perfect risotto & accompaniments but I wouldn’t really call it perfect risotto. As I main goal was making arancini balls with the leftovers, I omitted the bells & whistles not directly related to the risotto.

Components:

  • Basmati-infused chicken bouillion – YES
  • Puffed rice – NO
  • Velouté stock – NO
  • Butter emulsion and toasted rice – YES
  • Toasted rice tuiles – NO
  • Saffron butter – YES
  • Horlicks and coffee salt cubes – NO
  • Dried mushroom powder – NO
  • Pandanus crème fraîche – YES (but I omitted it as I was unable to find pandan leaves – I’ve since found them at asian grocery stores)

I have the full recipe if anyone wants to make the whole lot – for this blog, I’ve just included what I have done to make JUST the risotto.

Ingredients:

Basmati-infused Chicken stock:

  • 8 organic chicken legs or thighs, chopped – approx 1.5kg
  • 250g/8¾oz carrot, thinly sliced
  • 250g/8¾oz onion, thinly sliced (Comment: I forgot to buy onions so I used spring onions instead, the green part was added with the parsley below)
  • 125g/4½oz leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 100g/3½oz basmati rice

Butter emulsion & toasted rice: (My comment: you can halve this as you only need 60g for the recipe)

  • 200g/7oz onion, chopped
  • 375g/13¼oz dry white wine
  • 375g/13¼oz white wine vinegar
  • 200g/7oz butter (for toasting rice)
  • 50g/1¾oz Gli Aironi Carnaroli rice (My comment: I used a different brand of non-carnaroli rice)
  • 300g/10½oz butter, cubed and chilled (for wine, vinegar & onion syrup)

Saffron butter:(My comment: You can definitely halve this recipe, you need a few little cubes per plate)

  • 100g/3½oz butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 packet saffron (about ½g)

Pandamus creme: (My comment: I omitted it for 2 reasons, the only crème fraîche at the shop had the face of a chef I don’t like on it and I couldn’t find pandamus – found it later at an Asian grocers)

  • 100g/3½oz crème fraîche
  • 10g/1oz pandanus leaves washed and cut into 2cm/¾in strips

Finishing the risotto:

  • 20g/¾oz butter
  • 300g/10½oz Acquerello carnaroli rice (or substitute another brand of carnaroli rice)
  • 100g/3½oz dry white wine
  • reserved chicken bouillon
  • 80g/2¾oz reserved toasted rice butter
  • 20g/¾oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • salt
  • reserved cubes frozen saffron butter
  • reserved pandanus crème fraîche

Method:

Basmati-infused Chicken stock:

  1. Put your chicken in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a rapid boil. Once boiled, tip out water & put chicken into cold water & rinse out your pot (this will get rid of blood & impurities)
  2. Put chicken back into your pot & cover with water. Put on your lid & bring to the boil then leave to simmer for 2 hours (My Comment: Heston uses a pressure cooker so he cooked his out for an hour – I do not have a pressure cooker)
  3. Add the rest of your stock ingredients except parsley and rice & simmer for another 1.5 hours
  4. Let pot cool a bit until it’s warm, then add the parsley to infuse for 30 mins then strain out your solids (My comment: I forgot to add garlic so I let some infuse in the stock after I strained it – oops)
  5. Rinse basmati rice 3x in cold water & add to stock, & simmer stock for 20 mins
  6. Strain out rice, then fridge stock until needed later

Butter emulsion & toasted rice:

  1. Add wine, vinegar & onion (or in my case spring onions) to a pot & cook on high until the liquid turned into a thick syrup
  2. Take pot off the heat, then whisk in cold butter cubes constantly but only a couple at a time to keep things emulsified & sauce-like
  3. Strain out the onion bits and reserve the sauce
  4. In another pot, put in your butter & rice and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly
  5. You want your butter to be brown & nutty (ala clarified butter) and your rice is golden & toasty
  6. Whisk your brown butter & rice into the reserved sauce above until evenly mixed, then allow to infuse for 10 mins
  7. Strain out the rice & fridge emulsion until needed (My comment: if you’re doing the full recipe, keep the rice for the rice tuiles)

Saffron butter:

  1. In a small bowl, put your saffron & 1 tsp of hot water to release the flavour & colour
  2. Add softened butter & mix thoroughly
  3. Spread out to 5mm layer (My comment: I used the same bowl, why wash more when you don’t have to?), cover with cling wrap & fridge til needed

Pandamus creme: (My comment: as mentioned above, I omitted this)

  1. Heat both ingredients in a pot for a few minutes, stirring constantly
  2. Whisk it up so it goes green & releases more flavour
  3. Strain out the greens, then fridge til required

Finishing the risotto:

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat
  2. Add rice & mix constantly for 3-4 mins – you want it toasted but not browned
  3. Add your wine & stir rapidly to deglaze the pan & remove any caramelised flavour on the bottom of the pot, cook it down until almost evaporated
  4. Start adding stock. Add one ladle and wait until it’s nearly evaporated, then add another – keep going until your rice is al dente. Stir (or jiggle the pot) occasionally so rice doesn’t stick to the bottom (we’re doing risotto, not paella) (My comment: every risotto recipe says you should have a separate pot for your stock to keep it hot – but I’m lazy…)
  5. Make sure to keep it a bit liquid in the pot – but yo don’t want your rice clumped or mushy so don’t over stir – jiggle the pot instead
  6. Add 60g rice butter & cheese
  7. Cover with cling wrap & let sit off the heat for 5 mins
  8. After 5 mins, stir & season if required
  9. Divide onto plates and jiggle around until it’s flat on the plate
  10. Grate over more parmesan & add your cubes of saffron & panadamus creme if you’ve got it

Voila! All done.

Tasty, I’d say not one of his best because the original recipe has so much going on but still a good risotto – not something I’d do again any time soon. It was actually quite a simple recipe (without bells & whistles), not hard or too time consuming compared to other recipes.

I enjoyed the acidity of the toasted rice butter and the saffron cubes added little bursts of flavour.

Now to make some arancini balls from Heston’s perfect risotto & perfect spaghetti.

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5 Responses to “RECIPE – Heston Blumenthal’s perfect risotto”

  1. Glad your a fan of Heston’s! His recipes are always a favorite of mine! Nice job with the risotto!

  2. Hi,

    I’ m Alberto from Italy.

    You Have a Best website.

    You have many delicious recipes.

    I have a blog http://www.realitaliandish.wordpress.com is a blog of real italian recipesof my family, if you wont take some recipes you can take is a honor for me.

    Bye from Italy CIAO.

    Sorry for my english.

  3. EXCELLENT post!

    I like how you did away with the mushroom espresso thing. It’s fun, but it seems like a needless affectation (to help pad out the TV episode’s running time?).

    You’re way ahead of us on working through the perfection recipes. Look forward to seeing how the next ones turn out.

  4. Stumbled across your blog and I love it. Keep going as I’ll keeping reading of your culinary adventures (both creating and tasting!)

  5. […] Monitor Muncher – This hugely respectable Australian blog has tackled a great many of Heston’s I… […]

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