Pea and Ham Risotto with Mint
The spring alternative to the winter warming Pea and Ham Soup
- 1/2 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 stick of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 300 g risotto rice
- 125 ml vermouth
- 800 ml hot hock stock (see below)
- 90 g butter
- 1 smoked pork hock
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup finely shredded fresh mint
For the Stock
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 stick celery, chopped
- 6 peppercorns
- 1 bayleaf
- 1.5 ltrs water
- Place the smoked pork hock into a large pan with all the ingredients for the stock. Bring to the boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to very low and simmer for 3 hours – the meat should be almost falling off the bone.
- Remove the hock from the stock and set aside to cool a little.
- Skim any fat from the top of the stock and then strain it into a clean jug or bowl.
- Pour 800 ml into a clean saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium low heat.
- Put the rest of the stock in the fridge.
- The hock should be cool enough to handle by now, so separate all the meat from the bone, skin and fat. Shred the meat and set it aside. Throw out the bone, skin and fat.
- Heat the olive oil and a tbsp butter in a pan, add the onion, garlic and celery and cook gently without colouring for about 15 minutes, or until soft.
- Add the rice and increase the heat stirring to ensure the rice and vegetables do not stick to the pan.
- Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring until it has evaporated.
- Then start to add the stock to the rice, one ladle at a time, stirring and waiting until it has been fully absorbed before adding the next ladle full, turning the heat down to low so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly, and continuing to add ladlefulls of stock until it has all been absorbed, giving you rice that is beginning to soften .
- Continue adding the rest of the stock a ladleful at a time until the rice is cooked. Just before it is ready, add the peas and the meat from the smoked hock.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the rest of the butter, half of the Parmesan, and fresh mint
- Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Put a lid on the pan and leave the risotto to rest for a minute.
- Serve between individual serving plates.
- Finish by sprinkling with the remainder of the Parmesan and grinding over some freshly ground black pepper.
While this appears to be a long and involved recipe, it isn’t – The making of the stock is simple, and just simmers away as you get on with other things.
You can freeze any leftover stock.