Turkey-Bacon Rolls w/ Mushroom Risotto

Bacon is not one of my most favorite foods. I have a very clear ‘taste of a memory’ from the bacon my father would cure on the farm when I was growing up. It was way too salty and fatty for my liking, so I avoided it like the plaque. Brion, on the other hand, loves bacon!  Over the years I have come to find there are many versions of smoked bacon that can really take a recipe to another level. I have used it on, in and around so many things.  I have dipped filets in it, encrusted filets in it, wrapped chicken and salmon filets in it, extra, extra …

Bacon fans are an innovative bunch. Forget the simple slice alongside eggs. Diehards have dipped the meat in chocolate, crumbled it into ice cream, infused it into vodka and the list goes on. You’d have to be living under a rock to miss the signs of our cultural obsession with bacon these days.

In this meal I’m making some sliced turkey-bacon rolls to have with our mushroom risotto. Should be quite flavorful.

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Turkey-Bacon Rolls w/ Mushroom Risotto
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Instructions
Turkey/Bacon Rolls
  1. Chop the rosemary & thyme leaves, add a pinch of dried marjoram, parmesan, breadcrumbs & a little lemon zest.
  2. Lay out turkey slices on a work surface, brush them with mustard, distribute the prepared mixture & roll them up to perfectly contain filling. Wrap each roll tightly with a slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick if necessary.
  3. Sauté garlic in a drizzle of oil for 1-2 minutes over low heat. Add more oil if necessary & brown mini rolls evenly for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally & adding salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Add wine, lower heat a little & put the lid on & continue cooking for 5-6 minutes, adding very little boiling water if necessary, Remove from heat & keep warm until risotto is cooked.
Mushroom Risotto
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the porcini mushrooms, remove the pan from the heat & set aside for 30 minutes until mushrooms are tender. Then, using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms & set aside.
  2. Return the broth to a simmer & keep warm over low heat.
  3. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter over medium-high heat. Add onion & mushrooms & cook for about 3 minutes, until the onions are tender but not brown. Add rice & stir to coat with butter. Add wine & simmer for about 3 minutes, until the wine has almost completely evaporated.
  4. Add a soup ladle full of warm broth & stir for about 2 minutes, until almost completely absorbed.
  5. Continue with remaining broth, adding a ladle full at a time & allowing each addition to be absorbed, until rice is tender to the bite & the mixture is creamy. This should take about 20-25 minutes in total.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the parmesan, gorgonzola, chives, salt & pepper. Transfer to a warm serving bowl & serve immediately.

Barley Risotto w/ Roast Butternut Squash & Beets

Risotto, a classic Italian dish with origins in the northern part of the country, is traditionally made with Arborio rice, a short-grained rice with a particularly starchy consistency. While the classic version is always a treat, I love the versatility of risotto, which can be made with just about any grain. In particular barley, not only because this nutty grain adds complexity to the dish in terms of taste and texture, but also because of the many health benefits of the grain.  

The amount of work involved with this dish is much less than you’d think. Risotto has the reputation of needing a lot of attention, but in reality, it just needs a few stirs now and then, and little else.

Risotto is undoubtedly pure Italian comfort food. This creamy, hearty dish is usually associated with cold weather. However, risotto can be made with just about any seasonal ingredient and is delicious enjoyed year round!

Risotto can be as elegant or as simple as you like. Using butternut squash & beets adds some winter vegetable interest.

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Barley Risotto w/ Roast Butternut Squash & Beets
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Rub unpeeled beets with some oil & bake until soft. Cool slightly, peel & dice. Set aside.
  3. In a skillet, melt half the butter & sauté onion until soft; add the barley & mix until coated with butter. Add the wine, stir & allow to evaporate. Heat the broth & add a ladle to onion/barley mixture & leave until most of the broth is absorbed. Uncover, add some more broth; do not let the barley dry out. Cook barley until it is soft, over a medium heat. It should take about 20 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  4. On a baking tray, place squash, drizzle with some olive oil & sprinkle with pepper & add rosemary. Roast at 350 F. until soft but still firm. During the last 3 minutes add the beets to reheat them. Remove the rosemary.
  5. When barley is cooked, remove the pan from the oven; add remaining butter & parmesan & stir well. Set aside for a couple of minutes. It should become quite creamy.
  6. To serve, place on serving plates & top with roasted vegetables. Serve immediately.

French Mussels w/ Bacon & Leek Risotto

Thanks for the memories! This phrase says it all when I think back to the wonderful time we spent in France. Although this holiday is now 20 years past, the memories remain very vivid and special.

My sister, Loretta had joined Brion & I on this French vacation which had made it even more special. Our journey began in Paris where we had rented a car, then travelled south (about 613 km/380 miles) to the sleepy little village of St Thibery. For this segment of our trip we had rented an apartment to use as ‘home base’ during our time in this part of France. Many of these houses are from the 14th,15th & 17th century. The apartment was quaint but adequate even having a roof top patio.

St Thibery is situated between the larger towns of Agde & Pezenas and is just a short distance from the Mediterranean Sea. On one of our day trips we visited the town of Agde. It is one of the oldest towns in France and is captivating by its maze of narrow streets. Agde was built of black basalt from a volcanic eruption thus the black color of its buildings.

It was here we discovered a nice restaurant where we enjoyed some classic French steamed mussels. It would be an understatement to say how much the three of us enjoyed this feast of fresh seafood.

During the time we spent in the area, we made the 20 minute drive from St Thibery to Agde just to have some more mussels on numerous evenings.

Brion & I decided to revisit the taste of those ‘French’ mussels today with our supper meal. Of course, nothing compares to the ‘taste of a memory’!

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French Mussels w/ Bacon & Leek Risotto
Instructions
Risotto
  1. Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan, then turn heat to low & keep at a simmer.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add bacon & sauté until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain & set aside.
  3. Remove all but 2 Tbsp bacon drippings from skillet (add extra olive oil if necessary to equal 2 Tbsp) then add leeks, mushrooms & shallot. Turn heat up to medium-high; season with salt & pepper. Sauté until vegetables are tender & starting to turn golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic & sauté for 1 minute. Add rice; stir to coat & cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Turn heat back to medium; add wine & stir until absorbed by rice. Add hot vegetable broth; stir near constantly until rice is tender & all the broth is absorbed, about 25 minutes. If broth gets to a hard boil, turn heat down. Remove skillet from heat; stir in thyme, parmesan cheese & cooked bacon. Keep warm until mussels are ready.
Mussels
  1. Heat olive oil & butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Sauté the onion & garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mussels, wine, cream, butter & parsley. Season well with salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Mix well, cover pot with a lid & cook until mussels are cooked through & opened, about 12-15 minutes.
  4. Serve mussels along with the juices in the pan with risotto & crusty or garlic bread.

Chicken Wings Risotto

A popular and versatile dish, risotto is served extensively in the kitchens and restaurants of the world. The history of risotto is naturally tied to the history of rice in Italy. Rice was first introduced to Italy and Spain by the Arabs during the middle ages. The humidity of the Mediterranean was perfect for growing shorter-grained rices.

A hearty rice dish, risotto is rich with the flavors of the stock used in its making, as well as saffron, and any of the hundreds of ingredients that pair so perfectly with it.

The key components of this simple but elegant dish are: rice, stock (usually chicken), onions, butter, wine, parmesan and saffron. It can be served by itself or as an accompaniment to other dishes. The starchy component of the dry grain mixed with the stock creates a thick, creamy sauce.

Brion is a ‘wing’ man. He LOVES chicken wings and rice so it seems quite fitting to make a CHICKEN WING RISOTTO.


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Chicken Wings Risotto

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian

Servings

Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian

Servings

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!


Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat butter & oil; add wings, cook until golden brown on both sides; Remove from skillet to paper towels & drain skillet.

  2. In skillet, melt extra butter; add onion & garlic; cook until tender. Add pepper, shallots, zucchini, celery & saffron, cook another minute. Add wine, rice, water, chicken bouillon cube & chicken wings, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat & simmer for 20-25 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, stir in parsley.


Recipe Notes
  • Saffron is extremely expensive to buy in our part of the country. A good trade off would be turmeric or just use the spices that appeal to you.