Dinner the other night was a collaborative effort, or maybe more like a compromise. My P.S. (Princely Spouse/risotto maker) had brought home a bag of snap peas from a friend’s garden and he wanted to make pea risotto. We had leftover roast turkey, and I wanted to use some fresh garden string beans. It was going to be an unusual dish.
I started by cleaning the beans and cutting them into 2-3 inch pieces. I also cut 3 medium-sized carrots into similarly sized matchsticks. I wanted orange and green, contrasting colors.
I put them into a little salted water and brought them to a boil. Then I turned them down and let them simmer for about 10 minutes. I wanted them to just lose their crunch.
The sauce recipe I found was for a General Tso kind of sauce. I wanted a sauce with ginger, soy sauce, and vinegar. Something with some snap. I merely left out the peppers and chicken and used the sauce on my green beans and carrots. I whisked the ingredients together, brought it to a boil, then added cornstarch to thicken it and allow it to cling to the beans and carrots.
Which is what happened when I tossed the beans and carrots into the saucepan and stirred. The sauce coated the veggies and was beautiful, fragrant, and I couldn’t wait, I had to sample it. One green bean and I was hooked. This sauce was fabulous!
Besides heating the leftover roasted turkey in the microwave, my P.S. had the rest of the meal covered. He is the one who likes to stand and stir, add more broth, stir, add more broth, stir. You get my point. It’s a labor intensive dish while you wait for tiny kernels of rice to absorb liquid. It requires patience.
I’ve described his risotto process before here, if you want details. I’ll just say that he used his tried and true method but added 2 cups of peas I pureed for him in the food processor, and another ½ cup of whole peas. The recipe with it’s measurements are listed below.
He followed a recipe off the Real Simple site, but made modifications based on his own recipe.
The peas were a bit tough; we agreed they could have cooked a little longer by being added earlier to the risotto. The recipe called for frozen peas, thawed, which would have been blanched and softer than the fresh peas. Depending on which type you use, adjust accordingly.
When the risotto was done we plated it first, then added the heated turkey, and topped it all with the green beans and carrots. P.S. thought it was odd and served his beans and carrots on the side. I thought they were a nice pop when eaten with the other foods; they serve dishes arranged in layers on the cooking shows all the time. I was just being trendy!
The risotto was good, with the wine, peas and parmesan making a good mixture of flavors. He’d used some of the turkey broth I made earlier in the week here, and you could only tell that it was turkey broth if you were looking for it in the flavors. The dish was so colorful and tasty I felt like I was dining out in my own home. I think we did a great job in our food compromise for dinner.
General Tso’s Green Beans and Carrots
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 Tablespoons chicken broth or water
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon hot chili oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch for thickening
1/2 pound green beans; trimmed and cut into 3″ pieces
3 smaller carrots, cut into 3″ matchsticks
Add green beans, carrots, and enough water to cover to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to medium low and let cook for about 10 more minutes. Drain.
Whisk all but cornstarch in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk in cornstarch and stir until thickened.
Pour over vegetables and toss to coat.
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup shallot; chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth (he used turkey broth)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
salt and black pepper
2 1/2 cups peas
mint sprigs (for garnish if desired)
Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes.
Add the rice and stir until coated. Add the wine and stir until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
Add the remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until each is absorbed before adding the next. Cook until the rice is al dente, about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, puree 2 cups of thawed peas in a food processor or blender. Set aside the 1/2 cup of whole peas. If using frozen peas that are thawed, stir them into the rice mixture when it is al dente and heat through. Stir in parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.
If using fresh peas, add the pureed peas and whole peas to the rice mixture about 10 minutes before it is done. They will need time to soften and cook.
Serve hot with mint sprigs as a garnish if desired.