The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.
I did my usual party event out of it and invited friends over to cook: Karyn, Raquel, and Christineh. Since we had one vegetarian we opted for a veggie stock (but I have plenty of frozen turkey stock homemade in the freezer from the holidays…forgive me for skipping that part of the challenge).
I also was given some vanilla pods recently by Elaine at I Heart Vanilla which I wanted to use. I found a recipe for butternut squash and vanilla risotto. For the carnivores I found a Vanilla Chicken recipe (a recipe from Réunion Island) too…so the theme was vanilla and risotto.
Pics are not the best as we had polished off 2 bottles of wine before eating! Food was phenomenal and we had a blast! By the end of the evening 4 bottles of wine were gone, naughty stories were shared, tears of laughter were shed, full stomach were in ecstasy. Dessert included fancy pastries, chocolate covered almonds and homemade chocolate oatmeal raisin cookies by Raquel. What a blast!
Look on the The Daring Kitchen website for the recipes of the challenge. I adapted with the two following recipes:
Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto
Originally published by Giada De Laurentiis
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 large vanilla bean
- 3 cups peeled cubed (1-inch wide) butternut squash, about 12 ounces
- 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
- 3/4 cups finely chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
- In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low. Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. (Note: I actually cooked my squash cubes for about 15 minutes. It took quite a while for them to become tender.) Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chives (Note: or thyme). Serve immediately.
by My Vanilla Shop
- 1 chicken
- 4 onions
- 2 vanilla beans
- 6 garlic gloves
- 1/2 tsp saffron
- pepper, salt
1. Remove the bones from the chicken and cut into small pieces
2. Braise the chicken until tender
3. Slice onions thinly
4. Grind garlic with salt and pepper
5. Add onions and cook for a few minutes
6. Add the ground garlic and cook for a few minutes
7. Slit the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seed paste inside.
8. Add the vanilla bean and the vanilla seeds to the chicken
9. Add 2 glasses of water
10. Continue to cook until chicken sauce has reduced
Whoa..vanilla chicken. I gotta try that recipe 😉
Thanks for putting up the word on your blog about them beans!
I love it..a risotto that can go either way..sort of dessert’ish yet sort of main ‘dishy’. It looks marvelous..well done! Oh, love the photos of you and your pals cooking eating, drinking and chilling 🙂 That’s really what it’s all about 🙂
Wow… I love vanilla, andn I never would have thought of vanilla with butternut squash! I might have to try that…! Thanks for showing a veggie-friendly interpretation!
Awesome combination of flavours! I still have to figure out what to do with Elaine’s vanilla… Looks like you guys had fun!
The vanilla addition is a very interesting idea!
Vanilla Chicken! Wow, that sounds very yummy! Good job on the challenge.
yummy vanilla and chicken! that’s something you dont see everyday! it’s so refreshing to see friends having fun cooking and then eating after 🙂
I love the vanilla idea! Vanilla is fantastic, especially with the squash =D. Yum!
Thank you all…and actually the vanilla was just nice and not overpowering..so don’t be afraid to try it.
I love vanilla AND butternut squash, so this sounds fantastic. And vanilla chicken? Sounds super intriguing! Fantastic job on this month’s challenge!!
Wow Evelyne – love the idea of this recipe but like Conor I am wary of vanilla sometimes because it can be so strong. What a great idea though!
I’m impressed with the vanilla and the four bottles of wine (LOL LOL). I would be very intrigued to taste this flavour combination. Love all the pictures of friends enjoying the cooking process. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.
I love that you had this much fun and wine.
amazing job with this months challenge.
I love vanilla but it can so easily overpower things, I’m very interested about how these tasted. They look damn good. 4 bottles of wine? Well done girls!