Friday, February 24, 2012

Sunchoke Risotto, Lots of Swearing, and How Many Brands of Malbec Can You Name?

This morning I took on Gordon Ramsey's recipe for sunchoke risotto.  A sunchoke is also called a Jerusalem artichoke and it looks like this:

No, that isn't ginger...  It just really, really looks like ginger.  Sunchokes are more like potatoes and can be roasted, put into soups, etc.

Let me say this.  These bastards are HARD to peel.  In order to get two cups, it took me over twenty minutes of peeling/paring, and I'm pretty proficient with a knife.  ((Yes, that is also a warning.))  I can do twenty pounds of potatoes in under 5 minutes with a knife.  So basically, this kind of sucked.  And that is when I started cursing my pal, Chef Gordon.

The cursing continued because the way in which the recipe was written was pretty vague.  I'll explain how I did it, but I frankly have no idea if that was what was meant to be conveyed or not.  What took me a few paragraphs to explain ((even with my editorializing)) was written in 5 sentences in the original.

What you need:

2 cups of peeled sunchokes
14 ((ohmygod)) tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cups of risotto rice ((I used Trader Joe's arborio))
8 cups of chicken broth
2/3 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of Parmesan
Salt and pepper

What you do:

1.  Add some olive oil to a stock pot and add the rice over a medium heat stirring it constantly for 2-3 minutes until the oil is absorbed into the rice.  Working slowly, add approximately 1 cup of *hot* chicken broth at a time, waiting until it is absorbed until adding more.  This entire process takes about 25-30 minutes.  Keep stirring the goddamn stuff!!  It will stick and you will be really, really unhappy with Chef Ramsey if you mess this up.

2.  Throw SEVEN FRICKIN TABLESPOONS of butter into a saute pan.  ((Not the same one as with the rice.))  Let it melt and then add the sunchokes which you have cubed.  Don't let the pan get too hot or you will burn the butter and there will be more swearing.  Swoosh them around until they are soft, about 10 minutes or so depending on the size of your cubes.  Add 2/3 of a cup of heavy cream and let it reduce.  ((That's fancy talk for cook it until the liquid is absorbed.))  Be careful!  You do not want the cream to scorch.  Watch your heat and if you get scared, turn it down.  It might take longer, but it won't get ruined that way.

3.  Once the cream is reduced ((or you give up and declare it good enough)), remove the sunchoke concoction to a food processor or blender and puree it.

4.  Your rice mixture ought to be done by now.  Remove it from the heat and pour in the sunchoke/cream puree.  Mix it around.  Then...ohmygod...sorry... add ANOTHER SEVEN FRICKIN TABLESPOONS of butter to the pot and 1/2 a cup of fresh grated Parmesan.  Put it back over low heat until the butter and cheese has melted into it.

Start adding salt and pepper until you get it to where you think it should be.

I suspect it is impossible to make risotto photograph well, so I'm not really going to try.

The original recipe also called for grilled scallops with a sherry wine reduction, but because I am taking this to an event, I declined to do the scallops.  Scallops need to go out fresh and hot and I just thought it sounded like a nightmare to transport.  Sorry.  I'm sure it is delightful.

This is very, highly, extremely, a lot rich.  As if there is any question with nearly two sticks of butter and the cream and the oil.  I will also say this.  I have a bit more of a sophisticated palate than most...  Kids will not like this.  Most husbands will not like this.  Your foodie friends or those who can name 27 types of Malbec off without thinking however will definitely like it.  Save it for them.

Nutritional Info:  You do NOT want to know.  Seriously.  It is in the thousands for the entire recipe.  I'm not kidding.


  1. OMG you had me laughing so much! That is so funny and I can't believe how much butter. Bet it's so good.

    1. It's craaaazy. I think it is really good, but I might be biased. Just a little.

  2. I'm waiting for your scallops recipe. I love good scallops.

    1. My pal, Gordon, suggested the following: Slice each scallop into three pieces and sauté in hot oil for 1 minute on each side until they’re medium-rare. Place on top of the risotto. In a heavy-based pan, heat the sugar until it’s a dark golden colour. Carefully add the sherry vinegar and reduce until you have a thick syrup. Drizzle this over the risotto, and serve.

      Read more:

  3. 14 Tbs of butter AND 2/3rd cup of cream?! Sheesh but I bet it's super yummy! Overall, how many servings does this make? 8? Oh, and is it possible to share your calorie caculator?

    1. I doubled the original which is for two servings... It is over 1,000 calories per serving. However, because we were doing a larger party with 12 or so dishes, I knew people would only have a spoonful or so.

      My Fitness Pal (which is a website for food/exercise tracking that works kind of like facebook with friends, etc) has a recipe calculator where you input each of your ingredients and the number of servings and it does all the calculations for you.