Kimchi Risotto

A rainy start to the work week, I wanted to create some new food content as a lot of you have been making several requests as of late. Plus, I've been going through a lot personally, and cooking has always been therapeutic, for me, at least. Eating well never sucks and having others enjoy the food I make results in me being happy, which also never sucks :) So let's talk about this wonderful recipe I tried out - it's nutty, buttery, and tangy with just the right amount of heat, and perfect for a chillier day like today... kimchi risotto! What the heck did I just say?!

Kimchi Risotto

photos by ©  Suzanne Spiegoski

photos by © Suzanne Spiegoski

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1/2c Kimchi juice (squeezed from kimchi)

1/2 Kimchi (minced)

3c Vegetable stock

2Tbsp butter

2 Cloves garlic (minced)

1c Sushi rice

3-4Tbsp Gruyére cheese (grated with a microplane)

Directions:

  1. Squeeze the juice out of the kimchi using your hands to make 1/2 cup of juice and then weigh out 100 grams of squeezed kimchi. Mince the kimchi.

  2. Pour the vegetable stock into a pot and bring to a simmer over high heat. Turn down to low to keep warm.

  3. In another pot, add the lard and garlic and saute until fragrant.

  4. Add the minced kimchi and continue sauteing until the kimchi is translucent.

  5. Add the rice and stir until the rice has evenly absorbed all the oil.

  6. Add the kimchi juice along with a ladleful of hot vegetable stock and stir the rice until most of the water has been absorbed.

  7. Continue adding vegetable stock a ladleful at a time and stirring until the rice is your desired consistency. You may not need all the stock.

  8. When the rice is done, add the grated Gruyère and stir into the risotto. Serve immediately.

I know, initially the idea sounded a bit peculiar. Swiss cheese with kimchi and sushi rice? But the combination of flavors go wonderfully within this dish, and though I've made risottos in the past, I've never tried a fusion recipe of this kind before. And the results were sublime, I'll tell you! One of my favorite dishes is risotto, which would make sense given I'm such a rice girl. But the creamy warm flavors delight my taste buds, as I'm sure they do yours. I love a mean, mushroom risotto, but this kimchi risotto certainly takes the cake! The flavors are really all there, you don't even need to add salt! 

I normally use arborio or baldo rice when it comes to making risotto, but I found sushi rice to be an interesting type of rice to use in this fusion recipe. Though this recipe is derived from here, I did a bit of my own tweaking in terms of measurements and the different use in rice. You could also try using a different form of kimchi, such as turnip/radish, which would still bring the acidity into the risotto. I'd love to give a zucchini kimchi a go, what do you guys think about the sounds of that? 

Here are a few tips to achieving the ultimate risotto: Number one - the broth you use to mix the risotto should be very heat, it better cooks down the rice giving it that smooth, creamy goodness that should be when making risotto. Number two - you can use lard instead of butter should you want a more rich flavor but I like to eat pretty healthy (not that butter is any healthier lol), should you not want to use butter at all, you can try making it with coconut oil! And lastly, when it comes to making your own risotto, try to live a little on the wild side. Mix up the flavors, try something you haven't tried before. Get creative. After all, that's part of the fun when it comes to cooking, am I right or am I right? :) 

LOVE & XX'S,

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Korean Coq Au Vin

Happy Friday and Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Kiss me, I'm Korean (and Polish)! ;)

In light of the 'blizzard' this week here in NYC, we got lucky. Expecting over 2 feet turned over to only about a foot and the conditions were mostly icy with frigid temps! I bet a lot of you are looking forward to spring just as much as I am! With a snow day on our hands midweek (seriously everything was closed, from schools to banks... even Starbucks!), I cooked up more of a fall/winter dish that I've been dying to make. A well known French dish, I also wanted to put a twist on it and created a Korean Coq au vin.  

Korean Coq Au Vin

Serves 2-4

photos + recipe by  Suzanne Spiegoski

photos + recipe by Suzanne Spiegoski

Ingredients:

24 to 30 pearl onions
4 chicken thighs and legs, or 1 (5 to 7-pound) stewing chicken
¼ to ½ c AP flour
2 Tbsp water
6 ounces bacon, chopped
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp butter
2 bottles red wine, preferably pinot noir or cabernet
2 Tbsp Gochujang
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, quartered
2 medium carrots, quartered
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken stock

Directions:

Preheat oven to 245 degrees F.

Cut off the root end of each pearl onion and make an "x" with your knife in its place. Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop in the onions for 1 minute. Remove the onions. Allow them to cool, and then peel. You should be able to slide the onions right out of their skin. Set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the chicken pieces, a few at a time, into a large sealable plastic bag along with the flour. Shake to coat all of the pieces of the chicken. Remove the chicken from the bag to a metal rack.

Add the 2 tablespoons of water to a large, 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat along with the bacon. Cover and cook until the water is gone, and then continue to cook until the bacon are golden brown and crispy, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the salt pork from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, using the remaining fat, add the pearl onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until lightly brown, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. Next, brown the chicken pieces on each side until golden brown, working in batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan. Transfer the chicken into a 7 to 8-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven.

Add the mushrooms to the same 12-inch sauté pan, adding the 1-tablespoon of butter if needed, and sauté until they give up their liquid, approximately 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Pour off any remaining fat and deglaze the pan with approximately 1 cup of the wine. Pour this into the Dutch oven along with the chicken stock, tomato paste, gochujang, quartered onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Add all of the remaining wine.

Place the chicken in the oven and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is tender. Maintain a very gentle simmer and stir occasionally.

Once the chicken is done, remove it to a heatproof container, cover, and place it in the oven to keep warm. Strain the sauce in a colander and remove the carrots, onion, celery, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Return the sauce to the pot, place over medium heat, and reduce by 1/3. Depending on how much liquid you actually began with, this should take 20 to 45 minutes.

Once the sauce has thickened, add the pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon and cook for another 15 minutes or until the heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, remove from the heat, add the chicken and serve.

*Tips: If you want to do it overnight, just do everything up to putting the chicken in the oven. That part is for the next day :) The longer you marinate, the better the flavor! xo

Coq au vin is a French dish of chicken braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and optionally garlic. What are we talkin' bout here, optional?! I LOVE garlic so hell YES you best put those bad boys in with the rest of the ingredients! So what's the Korean twist? Kimchi? Nope. I used a spicy red pepper paste called gochujang. It's a staple paste in Korean cuisine and I thought the already-complex flavors would be killer-good in this dish. And with old school mashed potatoes? Oh YAY. 

What's the secret to the most delicious mashed potatoes of your life? Butter, milk, and salt. That's it. I make sure to really boil the bejeezus out of the potatoes and make sure they're Idaho! I feel like this is the starchiest potatoes and are perfect for mashing. I know I'm sure I've mentioned it before but you guys have no idea how much I LOVE mashed potatoes. I always tell people if I were deserted on an island and only had one choice of food to live off on, it'd be just that. And I'd die a happy woman. HA HA HA! BUTTTTTTT, (enter sad face) I've discovered after experimenting for a few months, that the more dairy products I consume, the more my skin breakouts! Also, did you know that eating more dairy also dries your scalp, leading to dandruff and other skin issues? A good substitute is chicken or vegetable broth, if you want to opt out on the milk in the potatoes.  

Stay tuned for a new post coming up on the blog featuring an amazing NYC-based ethical luxury handbag brand that I had the pleasure of working with! Can't wait to share with you guys our photo shoot! It snowed that day and we had lots of fun taking photos in the Financial District of Manhattan. Soon to come, have a great Friday, friends! For more recipes, check them down below. :)

LOVE & XX'S,

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