My adventure with rice continues. It’s a long and arduous road, littered with failures. A culinary journey of self-discovery and self-reproach. An odyssey, if you will, into the world of cereal grain staples.
Basically I still can’t cook rice.
But I found this little jar in M&S that promised to make a great risotto, all I had to do was add the rice and whatever I liked. There was a very easy recipe printed on the side so I decided to give it a go. The jar contained a paste that was to act like a stock for the risotto meaning I didn’t have to rely on myself for the flavour (or lack of it).
I added this gooey unction to a hot frying pan with some olive oil and added the rice for a minute or so. Then transferred all of it to a big pan, and poured in a litre of cold water.
While it was heating up I fried some diced chicken breast with dried sage and butter to throw in at the end. Here I am at this stage, the watery rice mixture seems to have a rather attractive scum on it!
I informed Twitter that I was about to attempt a risotto and the helpful hints came flooding in. It seemed the main thing to do was to just keep stirring while the rice was simmering. So I stood over that pan for nearly half an hour agitating that rice almost continuously. Everyone seemed rather concerned that the recipe had required me to add all the water all at once instead of gradually, but surely M&S couldn’t be wrong? I ploughed on…
Gradually the gloop seemed to take form and thicken, maybe I wasn’t going to dine on rice soup tonight after all?
I tossed in the cooked chicken and thought about how marvellous it was going to be to serve up an unctous, oozing, tasty risotto on my first attempt.
I started to think of trying a fresh pea one, using white wine in another and maybe buying an expensive slab of parmesan cheese to serve with all of these fabulous future risottos I was going to make.
But something happened, the rice had sucked up the stock, but also seemed to have sucked up everything else too. Every bit of moisture in the air, possibly the air itself. Suddenly it became massive. Massive and Hard!
My spoon stopped moving through the mixture. It had turned into a solid, chicken porridge.
I lifted up the heavy pan, made even heavier with it’s leaden contents, and upended it over my head. Nope, not a drop or a grain landed on me, I’d ruined it. Forget ooze, this stuff wouldn’t move at glacial pace.
I tried a spoonful, somehow the rice itself wasn’t even that cooked, it still felt rather bitty. But how could that be? It had consumed a bathtubful of water? It also had very little taste, maybe I should have relied on myself and seasoned it?
The chicken pieces tasted reasonably ok so I picked those out and ate them.
My dream of a fresh pea risotto, made with white wine and topped with expensive parmesan is back on the shelf. For now.