This side dish was one which I was really excited, and a little nervous, about trying. If you are a Hell's Kitchen fan, then you will understand why. Since season one, I have watched Chef Ramsey rip apart numerous "head-chef hopefuls" for their attempts at making risotto. Either it comes out too crunchy, too salty, too bland or just a bowl full of mush. More times than not, the risotto coming out of HK is just not up to par according to Chef Ramsey's standards. And these people are experienced chefs! How am I going to do? This dish must be tough!
Well, lucky for me, Chef Ramsey was not hanging over my shoulder while I took a stab at Paula Deen's Collard Green Risotto. One thing for sure is that I gained even more respect for those chefs working the appetizer station. Risotto is hard work! It requires constant stirring and monitoring. If you are planning to make this dish, you have permission to skip your arm workout for the next three days.
Here is the lighter version of this labor-intensive rice dish...
COLLARD GREEN RISOTTO
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small onion; finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 (32-ounce) box plus 1 (14-ounce) can FAT FREE/REDUCED SODIUM chicken (or veggie) broth, warmed
1/2 (!6-ounce) package frozen collard greens, thawed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a Dutch oven, warm EVOO over medium heat. Add onion and for sauté about 10 minutes or until tender.
Stir in rice and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 1 cup pf warm broth; cook until absorbed and stir constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1 cup of broth; stirring constantly until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat for the remaining broth; stirring constantly each time until liquid is absorbed. Stir in collard greens, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and sprinke with Parmesan. Serve immediately.
Like I said, this dish is labor-intensive. I had never made it and just needed to give it a try. It has been made and now I know; a valuable learning experience. I couldn't imagine trying to keep the risotto going while making anything else though. It would be difficult to multi-task with such a "needy" dish. With all of that being said, it was still delicious. My word of advice would be to not rush the process. There were moments where I thought, "This is good enough" or "Do I really need to add all this broth?" Don't do it. Follow the directions without missing a step and you will get great risotto. Skip a step or try to rush it and, well, Chef Ramsey has words for what you will get. I am not going to write those. You know what I mean.
Overall, the reward was worth all the work. It takes time, but if I can do it...anyone can do it.Give it a try!
Your guests will sure to be impressed!
Hell's Kitchen chefs, much respect!
~ The original recipe can be found in Paula Deen's Best Dishes 2010 - Special Issue; page 102
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