Spelt Risotto with Beets and Horseradish
Heston Blumenthal, chef at the Fat Duck in Bray, England, gave us the recipe for this dish, which was inspired by his trip to Transylvania. Blumenthal substitutes spelt, a wheat berry found in most supermarkets, for the more common short-grain rice to give the risotto a nutty flavor and a toothsome bite.
- 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup spelt, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
- 1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 small beet, peeled and cut into 1/8″ cubes
- 1⁄3 cup crème fraîche
- 2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 small bulb fennel, cored and thinly shaved on a mandoline
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup beet juice
- 1 1⁄2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1⁄2 cup madeira
- 1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- Bring 6 cups salted water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan, add spelt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (the spelt will retain a slight crunch), 15–20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Whisk together 1⁄4 tsp. salt, vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved; add beet cubes and let marinate for 1 hour. Drain and chill beets. In a small bowl, mix together crème fraîche and horseradish; set aside in refrigerator. In another small bowl, toss together olive oil and fennel and season with salt and pepper; set aside in refrigerator.
- Pour beet juice into a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until reduced by half; set beet juice aside and let cool. Meanwhile, heat chicken stock in a small saucepan over medium heat; set aside and keep warm. Heat canola oil in a 10″ skillet over medium heat and add garlic and shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 2–3 minutes. Add spelt and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted, 2–3 minutes. Add madeira and cook until it is reduced to a thick syrup, about 5 minutes. Add half of reserved chicken stock and cook, stirring often, until absorbed, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining stock, 1⁄4 cup at a time, and cook until it is absorbed before adding the next amount. Add the reduced beet juice and cook, stirring often, until liquid is creamy and spelt is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in Parmesan and butter, and season with salt and pepper; let risotto sit for 3 minutes.
- To serve, divide the risotto between 4 shallow serving bowls and top with a dollop of the reserved horseradish cream. Garnish the risotto with the reserved fennel and beet cubes. Serve warm.