This Swiss Chard & Brown Rice Risotto is a great way to use both of these fabulously nutritious ingredients. The dish gets a scented start, from rosemary and a little kick of lemon zest. I generally use the classic stirring method when making risotto with white Arborio rice, but when using brown rice this method is less work and just as good. In fact, you can even successfully make this dish with leftover brown rice. No one will ever know. You’ll still get a deliciously savory, slightly chewy rice dish that’s a cross between risotto and paella.
1. Roughly chop the porcini mushrooms and place in a pot with washed rice and porcini soaking water and stock.
2. Add the chopped mushrooms, parsley sprig, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking, start working on the chard.
3. Strip the soft leaves from the stems of the chards. Dice the stems and set aside. In a saucepan add ¼ cup water to the chard leaves. Sprinkle with salt, cover and steam over high heat until they wilt, about 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze out as much liquid as possible and roughly chop. Set aside.
4. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide, shallow pan, preferably with a lid. Add 1 tablespoon of rosemary and garlic and cook until the garlic begins to take color. Discard the garlic and rosemary. Add the onion, diced chard stems, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until they start to soften. Cover and cook until the chard is soft and the onion is a golden color, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, lemon zest, and 2 teaspoons rosemary. Raise the heat to medium-high and sauté to mix for a minute.
5. Add the brown rice to the chard stems, along with any cooking liquid left in the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered and stirring from time to time, for about 10 minutes or until the rice is almost al dente. Add the extra warm stock as needed so that the dish doesn’t become dry — it should be a little soupy. When the rice is just al dente, add the chard leaves. Cook for a minute to heat through. Beat in the grated Parmesan cheese and butter, if using, taste for seasoning and cover. Leave to steam for 5 minutes. Before serving, add a ladleful more of the warm stock if the rice looks heavy and dry. Check for seasoning again and serve immediately.
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