I hope you all had lovely Easter celebrations. We kept things very low-key at our house because Nolan doesn’t really understand holidays yet, and Theo was teething and feverish–he spent nearly all day sleeping on either Jeremy or me.
Fortunately, the dinner plan was a relatively simple one: boneless lamb shoulder dropped in the clay cooker, served on a bed of carrot-parmesan risotto. The lamb went off without a hitch. I used finely chopped preserved lemons and juice in place of fresh zest and juice, and oregano in place of rosemary. The lamb was falling apart tender after just 3.5 hours in the cooker, which is one of the really nice aspects of the VitaClay.
The carrot risotto turned out to be problematic, however… As it happens, we had no arborio rice in the pantry, so I had to improvise. Rather than switch to a different grain, I took a different approach and went grain-free, adapting the method for making sweet carrot halwa to a savory “risotto.” I grated and then chopped carrots in the food processor until they were about the texture of rice, and cooked them down with onions and garlic in a mixture of chicken stock, white wine, and coconut milk. Enriched with grassfed butter and a pile of shredded Parmesan at the end, none of us were missing the rice, and the flavors made a nice complement to the subtly sweet and lemony sauce for the lamb.
Just like its sweet cousin, this savory carrot dish makes for fantastic baby food. Theo enjoyed a large portion of carrots with finely shredded lamb for his first Easter meal, and even Nolan ate quite a bit of lamb as well as some bits of carrot stirred into his standard noodles.
Grain-Free Carrot-Parmesan “Risotto”
I find that adding a small amount of homemade carrot flour to this recipe helps give it a thick, smooth texture like risotto. If you don’t have any, you could easily omit it and just cook the carrots down more.
6 large carrots
2 T coconut oil
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C white wine
1/2 C coconut cream (solidified from the top of a refrigerated can)
About 1 quart of homemade chicken stock
1/4 C carrot flour (optional)
4 T grassfed butter
1 T ume plum vinegar (optional, adds a subtle sour and salty flavor)
1 C shredded Parmesan (plus a 2″ piece of rind, optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Using a food processor shredding disc, grate the carrots; then remove the disc, put in the S-blade, and chop the grated carrots coarsely to approximate the size of rice grains.
Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan or saute pan over medium heat, and add the onions and garlic; saute until soft and fragrant. Add the white wine, and cook down until fully reduced. Dump in the carrots, and add enough chicken stock to cover; bring to a boil, add the coconut cream and optional carrot flour and Parmesan rind, and cook down until the liquid is just about completely absorbed, stirring frequently. You may need to turn down the heat as the mixture thickens; this process should take 30-45 minutes.
Once the carrot mixture is thickened to resemble a risotto, turn off the heat and remove the Parmesan rind. Stir in the butter, shredded cheese, ume vinegar, and season to taste.