April 25th, 2011
Before I begin, I would just like to say that this photo is quite possibly the best plating job I have ever done. Perfectly poached eggs (a first!) gracefully sitting atop creamy but non-gloopy risotto (no broken yolks!). I even remembered to garnish! To top it all off, even my chintzy kitchen lamp was cooperating with me and gave me perfect lighting. Truly, this was like those ultra-rare days where you wake up with perfect hair. No matter how hard you try, you can’t replicate it. It. just. happens.
That being said, as pretty–and delicious–as it turned out, while making this I was reminded why I only make risotto approximately twice a year: it is very time consuming and labor-intensive for something that is not really all that filling. One bowl and egg each just was not enough, although my second bowl seemed too rich and I almost didn’t finish it.
This dish is indeed very rich. I even cut out half the bacon for frugality’s sake (though I used a very good quality applewood-smoked bacon with a highish fat content), used 4 cups of vegetable stock and 1 cup of water (it’s what I had on hand) instead of 5 cups of chicken stock, and forgot to put in the 2 tablespoons of butter at the end. I can just imagine it if I’d followed the recipe exactly. It would be too rich for my tastes!
My alterations are proof positive that this dish can be made inexpensively and still be really good. It just took me a grand total of around an hour, which is more than I like to spend on one meal, though some of you might think, “That’s labor-intensive? pshaw!” If you want a lot of flavor bang for your buck and think it is worth the time spent, this deal is for you. If you want it to be more filling, serve it with a crusty baguette and seasoned olive oil for dipping. YUM.
Bacon and Leek Risotto with Poached Eggs
Adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine, April 2011.
- 6 lg eggs
- 5 c vegetable stock
- 3 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 ½ to 2 c thinly-sliced leeks
- 1 ½ c arborio or sushi rice
- ¾ c dry white wine
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
- Parsley for garnish
- Cook bacon in large saucepan until crisp. With slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add leeks to drippings in pan and sauté until soft but not brown, stirring often, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add rice to pan, stir 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth to saucepan, stir until broth is absorbed. Repeat adding broth and stirring until rice is al dente and sauce is creamy, stirring almost constantly (I did take a break from stirring occasionally to grate cheese or chop parsley and it was fine).
- Stir in chopped bacon, parsley, and cheese. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and keep warm over low heat.
- White risotto is in the final stages, heat a large skillet of water to barely simmering. Crack an egg into a ramekin or small bowl and put it to the edge of the water then slowly slide it in, being careful not to disturb the egg white.
- Cook the egg until the white is set but the yolk is still runny, then carefully slide a rubber spatula under the egg to loosen it from the bottom of the skillet in case it’s stuck (mine always gets stuck). Then with a slotted spoon, carefully scoop the egg out of the water and onto a bowl of risotto. Repeat for the other eggs, saving any eggs not currently needed in a bowl of cold water. You can reheat them by gently putting them into some simmering water for 20-30 seconds.
- Garnish eggs with a grating of black pepper and a sprinkle of parsley.