Friday, 25 January 2013

Oven Baked Broad Bean & Bacon Risotto - and a good dose of humility

Excuse me for a moment while I state the obvious, but isn't feeding children just sometimes the most frustrating thing?

Just when you think you've got it sussed, that you're congratulating yourself that they've obviously grown out of all that toddler faddishness and realised you're not trying to poison them, they chuck in a curve ball. 

Just when you're feeling slightly pleased with your "Must-taste-without-retching-noises" rule and your "Eat-as-many-mouthfuls-as-your-age-if-you-want-pudding" rule, and the diverse range of foods that your kids will actually eat, and just, dare I say it, when you might be sounding a teeny bit smug about it all (strike me down, for I know I am that woman), they bring you straight back down to the bottom line and refuse something that is completely inoffensive, nay something that others would consider a bit of a treat.

So there we have it - oven baked bacon and broad bean risotto. Creamy, comforting on a cold evening. It's got bacon in it, for goodness sake. To be fair, I suppose Blue isn't a fan of rice , and generally, Pink has been fairly ambivalent about broad beans recently despite our attempts to jolly her out of it (mainly because we had a good crop of them in the garden and we are lucky enough to have some left in the freezer that need eating). But really? What's not to like? Everything, apparently.

"Mummy, let me tell you that broad beans and bacon do NOT go together" Er excuse me? Are you my child? I believe you may have been swapped at birth. (I didn't actually say that to him).

Ho hum.

Onwards and upwards.

The Husband and I loved it though, so for that reason alone, I'm going to share it with you all - and what could be easier. I know that really, for risotto, there should be loads of stirring love going on, and the purists will strike me down, but when the chips (or perhaps that should be the rice) are down, if there's an easy option, I'd like to know about it, and this certainly ticks that box.

Oven baked Bacon and Broad Bean risotto

1 tbsp olive oil & a knob of butter (what does a 'knob' of butter mean? I just chopped a smallish corner off my block - probably no more than 10 grams, because I'm trying to lose a little weight, but you could add more if you wanted)
1 onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
200g smoked bacon, chopped
200g frozen broad beans (you could also use frozen peas, or fresh of either in season, but they will take less time to cook - remember that. Nothing worse than an overcooked broad bean...)
300g risotto rice
700ml chicken or veg stock
100g or so of grated cheese - parmesan, or whatever you have

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Heat the oil and butter in an oven proof dish with a lid, and add the bacon. Cook for a few minutes till the bacon starts to colour, then add the onion and garlic and sweat gently till softened. 

Stir in the rice and keep stirring for a minute or so to coat the rice in the pan juice/oil. 

Tip in the stock, bring to a simmer, put the lid on and pop in the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven, stir in the broad beans, put the lid back on and cook for another 5 minutes or so till the beans are cooked (if you are using fresh broad beans, it will need less time. 

Take the dish out of the oven, stir in most of the cheese and leave to stand, with the lid back on, for 5 minutes. Apply salt and pepper as required, then serve with the rest of the cheese to sprinkle on top.

 Stand back and wait for the "oooos" of delight or, alternatively, the retching. If the latter, I share your pain. If the former, feel free to be smug in the comments below.


  1. Been there, done that! Some day, when their kids retch, you can look disapproving!

  2. No squeals of delight here either when I cook rice. The seriously fussy one always peers at it and says 'Not rice AGAIN!' swiftly followed by '..what's in it?' And it doesn't really matter what I put in it, because he'll spend the next 30 mins picking it out. But I'm not giving in. Rice is staying on the teatime menu!
    (love your new banner, looks brilliant!)

    1. It's good isn't it - my lovely friend Sam did it for me as a thank you for a lunch - the food must have been OK that time! Pink is usually good at rice so I was really disappointed that she didn't like it. Ho hum.

  3. Will store this up as an alternative to broad bean and bacon pasta. Thanks!

    1. Hope yours are more receptive than mine were!

  4. Don't you just love that.. It's the source of much pain here, mainly because it's (usually) always food cooked from scratch so it's hurtful. I ask them how they'd feel if I made a sick face and noise when they handed me a picture they had spent ages making for me... RJ I am not above dirty tricks - or not stirring a risotto asif you're life depended on it..

    1. Doesn't it just drive you MAD?? Never thought of comparing to one of their 'art works'. I'll do that next time...

  5. I would have gone for peas and bacon and you would have been 100% sure of success but yes, I get your point... I say simply stop feeding them.... then see what they 'decide' to like! (although dont blame me if the social services come knocking...)

    1. I know you are right, Dom, but thing is, I didn't have frozen peas in the freezer (shipping fail!). And yes, I have threatened withdrawing all food before now. Harsh, but effective!

  6. Been there many times! Sounds yum x

    1. Yeah, it was - one of the joys of parenting, I guess (not)


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