Have you ever made a recipe that you were so damn proud of that you beamed a little every time you ate it? Well, my friends, the Gluten Free Blogger has officially got her kitchen mojo back!
It's been a while since I've had the time or motivation to cook anything new, but when Knorr contacted me and asked me if I wanted to take part in their #glutenfreeknorr challenge, I felt it was about time I reconnected with my kitchen. They kindly sent me through a gorgeous hamper of their gluten free stock pots (I always use Knorr when I use stock cubes, so I was excited to try these) as well as some fresh veg and other kitchen essentials.
I decided to throw myself out of my comfort zone and create something completely different to what I'd normally eat. It was either going to be a disaster or a miracle - I'm pleased to say this might just be the best risotto I have ever made. Fact.
I opted for the beetroot - it's perfectly autumnal and who can resist that rich, pink colour? - and fennel from the vegetables. I'd never eaten or cooked fennel before (thank you Youtube for showing me how to prep it!!) but I knew it had a slightly aniseed-y taste which I thought would compliment the sweetness of the beetroot. As it turns out, beetroot and fennel are the best of friends...
Because of the nutritional plan I am on at the moment, this recipe made four perfect-sized portions for my carb intake (post workout only!), which I enjoyed alongside a nice steak. The sweetness of the recipe I felt went really well with the red meat. So after a hardcore session doing sprints on the prowler (evil bit of gym equipment) I was ready to devour this!
I was also really pleased with the stock pots I tried. They gave a much richer flavour than cubes and were easier to mix into the water, no lumps leftover (or maybe I am just a lazy stirrer??). I can't wait to try the rest, and I'll keep you posted on that! So here it is, if you want a gorgeous pink dish packed full of flavour, like a big warm fuzzy blanket on a cold winter's day, try this gluten free recipe out....
Garlic roasted beetroot and caramelised fennel risotto
Serves four as a side/two as a main
Four large fresh beetroot bulbs
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 tsp virgin coconut oil
salt (I used pink Himalayan salt) and black pepper
two fennel bulbs
20g organic butter
one large red onion
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
200g arborio risotto rice
- Preheat the oven to 200'C.
- Trim any stalks off the beetroot and wash thoroughly. Peel and dice into chunks about 1 inch chunks.
- Peel three garlic bulbs and chop roughly into about three/four pieces.
- Warm the coconut oil in a roasting tin until it melts. Add the beetroot and garlic, giving it a shake to ensure it's all coated, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. (If you like it hot, you could add some chilli flakes here).Roast for 30 minutes.
- Remove the fennel stalks, chop the end off and slice finely from the stalk to root. Finely chop the red onion and peel and chop the garlic.
- Melt the butter in a large pan on a low heat. Add the fennel, onion and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and cook very gently over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for around 10 minutes until the fennel and onion have caramelised.
- Meanwhile, add 500ml of boiling water to a jug with one vegetable Knorr stockpot. Stir well until it has dissolved.
- When the fennel and onions have caramelised, add the roasted beetroot and cook for a further couple of minutes until everything has a beautiful, pink tinge to it.
- Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir well so it is coated with the juices in the pan. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Once boiling, simmer on a low heat for around 15 minutes. You may need to add a little more water if the liquid dries up before the rice is cooked.
- Once cooked, serve hot or cold either on it's own or with chicken or steak. You may also like to caramelise a little extra onions and fennel to top your dish.
TIP: Leave the risotto in a tub in the fridge overnight and it will be even more flavoursome the next day. Pure goodness - enjoy!
To find out more about the Knorr range, visit their website here.
I'll be cooking up some more dishes using the rest of the flavours very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for more kitchen experimentation!