Thursday, 21 February 2013

Leek, Lamb & Mint Risotto

Risotto is something that I only learnt to cook relatively recently. Up until last year I'd largely avoided it because most recipes include white wine which I very rarely buy as I prefer drinking red and most recipes also include Parmesan and my boyfriend doesn't eat cheese. I'd seen risotto made on various TV cookery programmes so decided to give it a go during the summer using the quantities of rice and stock per portion on the back of a packet of rice as a guideline for creating my own version of risotto free from wine and cheese. The first risotto I made used dry cider in place of the wine and I added browned sausage meat and sliced apples to a base of caramelised onions and we both really enjoyed it. Since then I've used risotto as a good way to use up leftover meat from a roast dinner. I cooked a similar version of this after Christmas with the leftover chicken and stock from boiling a joint of ham. This recipe is one of my attempts to do something interesting with the leftovers from Sunday's roast dinner.

The quantities in this recipe are just a guide and you can easily increase them to feed a larger crowd. The vast majority of my cooking is a case of 'make it up as I go along' this is largely dependent on what's in the cupboards/fridge, what mood I'm in and how much effort I feel like making. As a result I don't really weigh anything, although I did measure the rice and stock here. This is probably why I'm so bad at using my cook books for anything other than baking. I rarely stick to the recipe and frequently make substitutions again depending on what I have in the cupboard and how I feel. I like reading recipes to get ideas and then playing around with them. This does mean that every time I make something like a curry or a casserole it is never exactly the same each time. Sometimes dishes turn out better, sometimes they are not quite so good but generally my 'chuck it in and see what happens approach' tends to work quite well. I don't necessarily think I have a particularly refined palate but I know what taste and flavours we like and which ones tend to work well together.

Ingredients - serves 3-4

1 large leek, trimmed, washed and sliced into crescents
oil - I do most of my cooking with sunflower oil but use whichever oil you prefer
300g aborio risotto rice
800ml stock - I used homemade ham stock that I froze at Christmas but you could use chicken or vegetable stock instead, up to you whether you use fresh or from a cube, I often use stock cubes
200g cooked roast lamb, diced

2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

  1. Heat a few tbsp of oil in a large pan over a medium heat and gently cook the leeks for a few minutes until softened but not browned.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil and then add a ladleful of stock and stir gently until it all the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladleful at a time, each time waiting until all the liquid is just about absorbed before adding more. This will take about 25-30 minutes.
  3. When the rice is just about cooked, taste it and it should still be slighlty al dente but not chalky, add the lamb and stir through and cook for a little longer until the meat has heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Finish by stirring through the mint just before serving. 

 I'm adding this to the linky which I've just set up for ideas on how to use up leftover meat from a roast dinner. I'm also entering this into Credit Crunch Munch run by Helen and Camilla, Made With Love Mondays, Herbs on Saturday and Simple and in Season this month hosted by Caroline


  1. Jen this looks delicious! And your way of cooking is exactly the same as mine! My Dad used to call it 'a kick at the pantry door'! hense the name of my blog! I love making risotto, ham mint and peas, or garlic and mushroom are out faves but the cider and sausage one you mention sounds exquisite!!!

    1. Now the name of your blog makes sense! It really is the best way to cook, stops you from getting bored of the same dishes

  2. I love your creativity with this recipe, Jen - I've made risotto a bunch of times but mostly with the same flavors (I like butternut squash in mine) but this lamb with mint and leeks sounds amazing. And I love that you just create as you go - I think this is how we stumble onto some of the best flavor pairings... Thanks so much for sharing...

    1. Thanks, there is only one dish that I make where the ingredients are exactly the same every time and that's my chilli con carne which I'll blog one day. Everything else really is a case of make it up as I go along. I'll have to try butternut squash next time, sounds like a good choice.

  3. Next time I have leftover lamb I am definitely trying this. What a wonderful combination of flavours in a risotto. Yum!

    1. Made this tonight, Jen, and it was lovely. I did add a little white wine initially and then a little leftover mascarpone at the end to make it extra creamy. Loved the freshness of the mint. This will definitely be my "go to" dish now when I have leftover lamb.

  4. This is a nice dish you've created with leftovers. I haven't tried making risotto I've always wanted to. :)

  5. A PERFECT entry for Herbs on Saturday and a LOVELY bowl of creamy rice goodness! Karen

  6. I do love a good risotto! I tend to do mostly veggie ones but it looks like a great way of using up your leftover roast meat. I too tend to use my cookery books more for inspiration than slavishly following the recipes largely because there always seems to be one ingredient I just don't like in the recipe (often garlic - ugh!). I don't use white wine in my risotto though - I keep a bottle of dry sherry in the fridge and it seems to do well enough! Thanks for entering this into Simple and in Season.

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  8. I love the idea of using cider in a risotto! This one sounds delicious :)

  9. What a fab way to use up your left over lamb Jen, very tasty indeed!


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