What do chefs eat after work? Simple food, served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon

Daily Dish: Pumpkin risotto with goat’s cheese and chorizo that you don’t have to stir ... all the time

Rice, pumpkin, goat’s cheese and chorizo transformed into a delicious dinner

Rice, pumpkin, goat’s cheese and chorizo transformed into a delicious dinner

 

Like most people who work in a professional kitchen, the last thing I feel like doing after service is cooking. I love preparing a meal for guests on days off, but post-shift, it is usually really simple food, served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon.

November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth
November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth

I have a freezer full of homemade stock, and a fridge full of interesting condiments, sauces, vinegars that I pick up from Irish producers, and oils from my local Lilliput Stores, to add flavour to simple dishes.

A few years ago I did a miso-making class with Junko Hamilton and having a jar of this in the fridge elevates simple post-work suppers to another level.

I have been known to make this dish with brown rice, basmati, and even barley, but cooking times need to be adjusted. You can also swap out the goat’s cheese for another cheese and the pumpkin for a different vegetable – pickled, fermented or roasted (blue cheese and roasted mushrooms are lovely), and either omit the chorizo altogether or substitute lardons or toasted nuts.

What you’ll need:

Serves 2-3

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1 Crown Prince pumpkin, or other pumpkin/winter squash, diced
1 tbsp honey or Highbank Orchard Syrup
Sea salt
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove smoked Drummond House elephant garlic, or two of regular garlic, sliced
200g arborio rice
125ml wine, cider or extra stock
625ml chicken stock, divided into 500ml and 125ml
50g goat’s cheese
Chorizo, a few slices per person

How to make it:

1. Wash and dice the pumpkin. I cook it with the skin on, because once roasted it is nutty and delicious.

2. Heat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius and toss the diced pumpkin in one tablespoon of oil, honey and salt. Roast the pumpkin, turning it once halfway through cooking. It will take about 25 minutes and the rice 20 minutes, so start straight away before prepping anything else. There will be more pumpkin than you need, so use a third of it for this recipe and use the rest for salads and bruschetta.

3. In a large oven proof pot with a lid, dice and fry the onion in one tablespoon of rapeseed oil over medium heat. You don’t need to brown it, just cook until it is translucent, three to five minutes.

4. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute, then add another tablespoon of the oil and add the rice, and stir to coat for 30 seconds.

5. Add the wine or cider and raise the heat to high for 30 seconds. Use a wooden spoon to get any sticky bits off the bottom of the pot. Add 500ml stock and then put the lid on, transfer to oven and bake for 20 minutes, covered.

6. Take the pot out of the oven, and add the chorizo to the pumpkin tray still in there, to crisp up.

7. Stir in the rest of the stock and place back over medium heat, uncovered. Stir constantly for five to eight minutes and then add in the goat’s cheese before stirring through the pumpkin and chorizo. I usually top the bowl of risotto with blackberry vinegar, milled seaweed or toasted seeds, but use whatever you have on hand.

Seaneen Sullivan is a chef and publican at L. Mulligan Grocer

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