While I've been off gallivanting around Cornwall the allotment has really come on. The cauliflowers are huge with tiny curds, the cabbages have come up, the wall of sweet peas is in full bloom. The broad beans are covered in pods, as are the peas and the runner and french beans have shot up their canes. The courgettes and squashes are coming along well, still small but surviving. It looks like a proper vegetable garden, I'm really quite pleased. There are still hundreds of weeds but I just keep on pulling them up over and over in the hope that one day I will be in control of them...
This is my first dish with my own broad beans, and you can really tell the difference, they are soft and sweet, compared to the big sometimes bitter supermarket ones. Broad beans love chorizo and vice versa, the mild sweet creamy beans go so well with the spicy salty sausage. So I decided on a simple risotto for the beans first outing. With shredded mint to finish, another great friend of the broad bean.
We listened to quite a lot of radio on our 15 hour round trip to Cornwall and back, part of which was Angela Hartnett on Radio 4 cooking red wine and chorizo risotto, I took her advice and made the simple risotto first and then topped it with the ingredients instead of cooking them through it.
Heat a pan of chicken stock through, I used about 600ml of stock reserved from poaching a chicken. I keep it in the freezer in old soup pots labelled with the type of stock and when I froze it. It makes me feel incredibly organised... my freezer is probably the most organised aspect of my life actually!
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add a finely chopped onion and a pinch of salt, cook until the onion is soft and sweet, add a finely chopped clove of garlic half way through. You don't want them to brown so keep them on a low heat. When the onions are ready turn the heat up a bit and add 200g of arborio rice, this is enough for a modest sized serving for two people, add a bit more if you're really hungry. Allow the rice to heat through with the onions, this starts its cooking process, after a few minutes add a glass of white wine or a small glass of vermouth. Allow the alcohol to bubble off for a few minutes before you start adding your stock. You then need to continue adding the stock a ladle at a time, stirring slowly as you go until all of the liquid has been absorbed. You want the rice to be creamy, but still have a slight bite to it. It will take about 20 minutes.
When it is almost ready blanch a couple of large handfuls of broad beans in boiling water. I only left mine for about 2 minutes as they were small and very fresh, some of the larger supermarket ones may take 4 or 5 minutes. Fry off about 150g of diced chorizo in a frying pan at the same time until it begins to crisp up.
Finally stir a handful of grated parmesan and a knob of butter through the risotto and ladle it into bowls. Divide the chorizo and broad beans over the rice, drizzling over a little of the cooking oil too. Then add a handful of shredded mint over the top of everything. It really is delicious, especially knowing they were my own broad beans planted from a few little seeds all those weeks ago.