Risotto with Balsamic Grilled Steak

Sometimes you just have to change things up.  We love risotto but we usually make Risotto with Sherry Mushrooms which is delicious but we have it often enough it can feel like being in a rut.  With the weather turning cool (there was a frost advisory last night) I wanted something a bit more rustic for our risotto.  I was pleased with the result and it went very well with the steak.

After dinner we had to dash out into the cool evening and harvest what tomatoes we could and throw blankets and sheets over the peppers, cucumbers, and celery for the potential frost.  I hope this doesn’t bode for an early winter.  Winter last year was long enough!  Not ready for the heat to go on just yet.  🙂

About an hour before grilling the steak I marinated it in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and garlic.  I seasoned the steak with salt and pepper.  Whenever I do risotto I like to get everything prepped ahead of time so it goes smoothly.  It’s not hard but it is a huge help having everything lined up.  For this I warmed up 4 cups of vegetable bouillon in a pan and measured out a cup of arborio rice.  I chopped half of a large red onion, finely chopped 3 cloves of garlic, prepped the fresh thyme, and sliced the mushrooms.  I also grated about a cup of parmesan.  The last ingredient needed would be the peas.

Melt about 2 tablespoons in a large skillet.

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Once melted saute the onions for a couple of minutes and once they start to soften add in the garlic.

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After another couple of minutes pour in the rice and stir well.  At this point usually a 1/2 cup of wine or sherry goes in but that would be way too much with balsamic vinegar so just a few splashes of the vinegar will do here.  Stir another couple of minutes.

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I usually add the broth 1/2 -1 cup at a time letting it simmer.  At this point I started grilling the steak.  It was a thin steak so it only needed a couple of minutes per side.

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Once the steak is done, remove and cover to let it rest until it is time to slice it.

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Halfway through cooking the risotto I add the peas to cook because even though they are from our garden they have been frozen.  Keep adding broth as the rice soaks it up.  Also at this point taste test.  If the broth is too salty dilute with some water.  It worked well for me as I made the broth a little too concentrated.

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At this point I saute the mushrooms.  For this dish I love to use shiitake mushrooms.  I heated up some olive oil and added the mushrooms and thyme.  I saute until the mushrooms start to brown then I add them to the risotto.

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I like to cook the risotto like they do in Italy.  You don’t want it mushy, just a little al dente.  Near the end of the cooking add in the cheese and stir well.  It is now ready to serve.  I sliced the steak thinly and placed it over the risotto.

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It was a lovely meal that was perfect for our first real chilly night.  🙂

My Dad’s Birthday and Cooking on a RV…

When we head to up Lake Champlain every year to celebrate my dad’s birthday we always plan a nice meal for him.  It is usually swordfish and steak.  In the days running up to the dinner I hadn’t a clue what to make but fortunately we were able to come up with some ideas as we headed to the store.  And whatever we come up with it all has to fit together like a puzzle as there isn’t much space to cook a big meal on a RV.   You have to keep your elbows in when you have a few cooks whipping up dishes.  It used to be my mum and me but now my daughter has joined in.  Which is wonderful, but keep the elbows in!  🙂  And because the kitchen is small and doesn’t come with a dishwasher it is important to keep the dirty dishes to a minimum.  Logistics is the word of the day.

My husband came up with the idea to use garlic and worcestershire sauce for the steak.  I thought an avocado smash would be perfect for the swordfish.  Off my mum and I went to get the ingredients and when I got to the fish section I saw they had deeply discounted the swordfish.  More than 50%!  I was a bit nervous as when you buy fish you don’t want it to smell fishy.  As I can’t smell things I thought it would be best to ask how long they had displayed the fish.  Two days so I thought ok I’ll risk it.  I really didn’t want a situation where you get what you pay for.

I prepped the steak first.  I sliced the garlic thinly.

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After making several cuts into the steak I stuffed the garlic in and then seasoned with salt and pepper.  I put the steak in a bowl with the worcestershire sauce to marinate for about 45 minutes.  This is as simple as it gets!

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The avocado smash is very easy as well.  I thought I had picked two soft avocados at the store.  I wasn’t quite right there.  Fortunately there was enough soft bits to make this work.  I coarsely chopped the avocado into a bowl and added red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and a bit of cayenne pepper and cumin.

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In addition to the steak and swordfish we were also having a wonderful potato salad made by my mum, grilled portobello caps, and grilled veg.  The only thing not being cooked on a grill was the potato salad.  The grill was this big.

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So the veg wrapped in foil started first and I staged everything else.

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It all came together.  I grilled the mushrooms first with the veg then kept those warm, next the steaks went on while the veg was finishing.  Those got dusted with a bit of cayenne pepper as well for a bit of heat.  They cooked well but as it was a small grill I couldn’t get the sear I normally do.  Then I removed the veg and seasoned the swordfish with salt, pepper, cayenne, and cumin and got that on the grill.

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I spooned a bit of the avocado smash onto the fish to serve.  I have to say for a deeply discounted bit of fish, this was really good.  I am glad I took the chance.

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Later we finished the evening with my mum’s homemade brownies and some ice cream.  The brownies were delicious.  🙂

Steak and Mushroom Stew

I love stews.  When the days get shorter and the layers are put on I love stick to your ribs food.  I also love stout.  🙂  The fact we named our two dogs Guinness and Murphy is an indication of how we love a bit of stout.  And since they have the colouring of stout it was a perfect match!  The only complaint I have with the Murphy’s imported here is that they do an American pint so we are short changed 4 oz!  And we have real pint glasses too.

This is a relatively easy stew to make.  You can make it ahead of time or an hour or so before you eat.  You need time for it to cook the potatoes and get the meat tender.

Chop up the onions, garlic, potatoes, and mushrooms and set aside.

I bought some stewing steak cubes for this.  What ever meat you buy cut into small cubes.  I like them to be bite size so it is easy to eat with a spoon.  Then dredge in flour.

First I apologize for the quality of this photo, didn’t realise that it was blurry!  Saute in olive oil to brown.  Add some salt and pepper. Then add in the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes.  In the meantime, boil water for the broth.

For the broth I use the veg bouillon again.  I made about 4 cups.  Now I did make a critical mistake.  I didn’t take into account how much the stew would reduce so I didn’t adjust the amount of bouillon I put in the water.  So the stew came out salty.  Even for me.  So keep in mind where you want the flavour to be after reducing the liquid.

As it simmers I put in about a cup of Murphy’s Stout.  Simmer until ready to serve.

The flavours behind the saltiness were quite good.  So I’ll know better next time!