Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday. I received some upsetting news Tuesday and had to make some hard decisions so we ended up going out to dinner (I love smoked chicken wings!)
On a more positive note, I did have an interview Wednesday so fingers crossed because I think I could rock it if given a chance to prove myself.
Plus Wednesday night was amazing. Something is going on with my school’s website so my professor had planned for the last hour of class to be taken up by us working with Microsoft Project. I guess they mirrored the software and due to the web issues it wasn’t on the computers like it was supposed to be so we got out early. It was like a present! Immediate mood booster.
Even with the early start on dinner though, this recipe is not a quick weeknight dinner…at all. So if you don’t have a lot of time and need to throw something together, do not make this, instead I recommend the Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas or one of the fish meals I’ve previously posted. Although if you do have time, this recipe is really tasty so don’t knock it out completely.
Let’s move on to the actual recipe, but first let’s play a game. Guess what the vegetable are in the picture below. Keep in mind they came in the CSA box from last week. Also try to guess how to cook them. Go on, I’ll wait…
Did you guess?
Personally I was going with acorn squash but after emailing the farmer he assured me that they were summer squash and to treat them as such. Right…
So I did more research because after cutting them open they had a middle seed area and I ended up deseeding them like I would a butternut or acorn squash. I found some seed sites on the internet and they look like a Sunny Delight (the yellow one) and a Starship F1 (the green one), and really, they’re named Sunny Delight and Starship F1? Awesome names.
Here’s the deal, I’m a planner and organizer. I like to plan things and know what’s going on, but I think it’s really important to balance all of that with flexibility and not get so stuck/set on an idea that you get trapped by your plan.
For example, I actually have the next five weeks of meals planned out with more that I can sub in and out. But when I got this CSA I was expecting corn and potatoes and had planned corn chowder; all of that came to a screeching halt upon seeing this box. This recipe and the one I’ll post tomorrow are born out of the need to roll with the punches and use what I was given in the tastiest way possible.
But if you don’t have a Starship F1 or Sunny Delight (why do those names make me so happy?) use zucchini and yellow squash.
- 1 (4 oz) link fresh Mexican Chorizo removed from casing (don’t use the smoked Spanish kind; although honestly, you probably could and it’d be equally delicious so it’s up to you. If you do use the smoked spanish chorizo you can't really remove it's casing but it's no big deal)
- 1 tsp of grape seed oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 jalapenos, deseeded and diced
- 1 ½ lbs summer squash, diced
- 2/3 cup of short grain brown rice (do not rinse, you want all of the starch you can get)
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 3 Tbsp dry sherry or marsala wine
- Chipotle chilies in adobo, two chilies diced plus two Tbsp of sauce (if you’re like me and have yours frozen use 2 cubes)
- 2 tsp assorted Mexican or Southwest seasonings (think cumin, mexican oregano, chili powder, crushed red pepper (only if you like it spicy), etc. I buy from Colonel De at Findley Market, so I used Ginny’s Southwest Seasoning Blend, along with Debbie’s Southwest Seasoning Blend)
- ½ Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp of water (cornstarch slurry)
- 2 oz grated Mexican Cheese (I used Chihuahua, but you could use Fresco or Asadero or even Cheddar-Jack, it’s up to you)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp diced cilantro, for garnish
- Fat Free Sour Cream, optional garnish
- In a sauce pan over low heat, combine chicken stock, chipotle chilies with adobo, sherry and seasonings and let warm until needed.
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Heat 1/2 tsp of grapeseed oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven. Cook chorizo until partially done and has released some drippings. Remove from pan and set aside.
- If you have a lot of drippings pour off most of them, reserving about 1 tsp in the pan. I used a really lean pork chorizo from Kroeger & Sons at Findley so I didn’t really have much.
- Add remaining ½ tsp of grapeseed oil to pan and cook onion for about 10 minutes or until softened and nicely caramelized. I can be a bit impatient so honestly when I’m caramelizing onions I tend to just walk away for a few minutes.
- Add in jalapeno and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add in brown rice and sauté for another minute. Pour heated liquid mix into dutch oven and bring to a boil. Add in diced squash and reserved chorizo. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Whisk in cornstarch slurry until well mixed. Cover and place in preheated oven.
- After 20 – 25 minutes, remove from oven, stir and check. If necessary add in ½ cup to 1 cup of water (remember a risotto is supposed to be a bit liquidy).
- Place back in oven and cook for another 20 – 25 minutes or until rice is done and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven, uncover, and stir in grated cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover pot with a kitchen towel and let sit for 10 minutes, giving it time to set up.
- Uncover and divide into 4 bowls. Garnish with cilantro, and if you like, a bit of fat free sour cream.
Personally I loved the spicy kick of it, although my husband had to use some sour cream to cool it down (although for our meal I may have added it a bit of Chipotle Tobasco…ok, a lot of Chipotle Tobasco).
Even though I normally don’t associate risotto with summer, I think by using summer squash and cilantro, it just felt lighter and fresher and didn’t seem heavy at all so it ended up being a perfect dinner dish (although not for a week night unless you get started at 4pm!).
If you wanted you could easily serve a simple side salad for the meal but by the time I was done cooking it was pretty late so we skipped the intended salad and just focused on the risotto.