Thursday, June 7, 2012

The split pea risotto that could have been, but wasn't, but also was

What, you may wonder, is the title of this post all about?

Let me explain.

Some time ago, I borrowed a number of cookbooks from my mother and photocopied recipes that I thought I'd like to make. The goal, at that motivated point in my cooking life, was to make one new dish from a recipe each week. Sunday night was going to be the night.

I did this for a while, but it seemed that we didn't like the new recipes as much as the old. Also, I seemed to have more dinner failures following recipes than I did when I made things up as I went along. It was all a bit dispiriting, especially as the recipe dishes tended to take longer to make.

The motivation passed, the photocopied recipes got put in my disastrous recipe drawer (yes, that one), and our dinners again became a mix of the random new and the safe old.

However.

One recipe still called to me, and that recipe was for spicy split pea risotto. It looked good, even in black-and-white photocopied form. It had normal ingredients. It seemed perfect for cooler winter weather.



On Sunday, I finally made it. I had such high hopes. They were moderately dashed.

This wasn't by any means a recipe fail, but there were definitely a few hiccups. Specifically:

  • By risotto, I expected visible rice. The rice disappeared, something that, on reflection, isn't all that surprising when considering that the recipe only called for 1/2 cup (raw) rice. When mixed into 1 cup split peas and quite a lot of other vegetables, it was lost. If I make this again, I would leave the rice out of the split pea mix and serve it separately.
  • By spicy, I expected more noticeable flavours. In fairness, they developed overnight and the leftovers were great for lunch, but on the first night there wasn't much 'punch' to this dish.
  • I dropped the lid to our (very expensive) Scanpan saute pan on the floor whilst making this. It shattered.
  • I was using the lid to our (very expensive) Scanpan saute pan because the lid to our large saucepan had previously been dropped on the floor, by me, and shattered. The latest breakage left us without any lids to use for large dishes. 

If we look past those things, this gave a moderately enjoyable dinner and some highly enjoyable lunches, so it's not all bad. Just a bit risky, for the moment, to walk with bare feet in my kitchen.


Split pea risotto

Makes 4 serves
Requires a bit of advance preparation and time near the kitchen
Adapted from a recipe in a cookbook of my Mum's, which I, terribly, failed to reference

Print recipe

Ingredients
1 cup yellow split peas
~1 tbsp oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 small zucchini (or 1/2 large), chopped
1 large potato, chopped (see note below about future adaptations)
1/2 cup basmati rice (see note below about future adaptations)
2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method
Place the split peas in a medium bowl, cover with cold water, and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave to stand for at least 8 hours - I set mine up in the morning and then used them that night.

When the peas have stood, drain them and set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and spices, stirring until onion is soft.

Add the tomato, potato and rice and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes.

Add the stock and lemon juice, and then the zucchini. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.

Add the drained split peas and simmer for another hour, covered, stirring occasionally. Before serving, the split peas should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed.

Don't drop your glass lid on the kitchen floor.

Future adaptations
In future, I would use 2 potatoes instead of 1, and cook the rice separately as a side dish.


This wasn't how I imagined, and it wasn't as smooth a cooking process as I had hoped. It did, however, redeem itself in the leftovers and I can see possibilities for a future re-run. In addition to the adaptations noted above, I think in future I would try to make this a little in advance - earlier in the day, or even the day before, so that the flavours can develop.


For now, though, I'm waiting on the delivery of a replacement Scanpan lid.

Have you broken anything recently? Please tell me I'm not the only one!
And where do you stand on split peas and their 8 hours soaking time?

32 comments:

  1. oh no - sorry to hear about the lid!!! How annoying!

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  2. How frustrating to have broken your lid, I haven't broken anything for a while but I did make a huge mess whilst cooking tonight and spilt food on the floor! I don't usually soak split peas (I just give them a good rinse) but the recipes I generally use them in call for long cooking times so it doesn't really seem to matter. The recipe sounds interesting, perhaps rice would be better on the side next time, an hour and a half seems too long for cooking rice.

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    1. Breaking and spilling are both far too common around here!

      Interesting to hear that you don't usually both with soaking split peas - that would certainly make life much easier. And yes, 1.5 hours for rice is something I won't repeat again!

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  3. Oh dear. Shattering all your large saucepan lids! Not good. You must have a very hard floor. We once lived in a house with a tiled kitchen floor and I vowed 'never again'. Everything shatters. Now we have lino and things are more likely to bounce than shatter. It's a shame this recipe didn't work out and I think you're right to serve the rice on the side rather than in the dish. But I do love the taste of split peas but the soaking means they can't be a spur of the moment dish - lots of forward planning required there! xx

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    1. We do have tiles, so I suppose that is part of the problem. Perhaps for any future houses I will weigh in the hardness of floors as something to consider - I suspect my occasional clumsiness will be something that persists, so if I can't change that, changing the floor would be a good idea!

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  4. I have a set of three saucepans and all have dodgy knobs because each has broken in some way - annoys me and I always mean to replace them but I just use oven gloves to handle them instead. So I am very sympathetic about the saucepan lids. And I had a substandard meal tonight - not terrible but not what I expected or hoped. I think I would have preferred your risotto

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    1. Those substandard meals are particularly frustrating I find - not terrible enough to say 'never again' and move on but not satisfying either. Mind you, I'm not fond of the terrible ones either! I suppose it's all part of experimentation.

      If you let me near your saucepan lids, I would probably drop them for you quickly and you could move on to replacement :P

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  5. Oh no!! I hate that about the lids! I had a recipe like that...I made it, but would have done things a little bit differently.
    I broke on of my favorite coffee cups not to long ago. I am always SO careful! I even watch the person using it like a hawk and who breaks it??!! Me! :)

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    1. Oh no! Favourite dishes are the worst to drop! Hopefully you have a new favourite cup now :)

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  6. Interesting fact? I've never tried risotto.

    Okay, so it wasn't that interesting.

    Still counts as a fact, though, right?

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    1. It does indeed. And, I think, even an interesting one. Although in saying that, I'm not sure I've ever had proper risotto. Maybe that should have warned me off trying this dish!

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  7. Oh I am so sorry to read about your glass pan lid. Do hope you mananged to pick all the pieces, the last thing you want is some pieces ending on your feet. I know, I have had things shattered on the kitchen floor many times, not in my new home fortunately, but when I lived in Glasgow, anything that landed on that surface shattered or broke.

    I do soak these lentils but not as long as you do, maybe a couple of hours. I am surprised that the rice disappeared in this dish, but maybe that is because you used Basmati - a risotto rice may have suited this dish better. still it looks good to me - almost like an Indian Pilau - its thrifty too.

    Also wanted to say, I do come by your blog often, just don't always leave a comment. Your support over the years has been really appreciated Kari x

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    1. Thanks so much for this comment Shaheen - so very kind and much appreciated.

      I think risotto rice would be a better match for future. This is a cheap and filling dish (and tasty with some time), so it would be nice if I could get a better recipe! I think softer kitchen floors would also be nice in the future - I had to stand very still whilst my partner got the big bits of glass off the floor (in shoes), and then some vacuuming happened in the midst of cooking. Not an ideal scenario!

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  8. Ah, how disappointing. You will have to make this again without breaking any expensive things, just so the recipe isn't associated with that event in your mind. And, if you can improve the recipe while you're at it, then all the better.

    Andy broke my wooden spoon the other day, which makes me *very* sad. It was a great spoon, and the ones I see for sale are nowhere near as good in shape or material.

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    1. Now that is almost impressive - breaking a wooden spoon must require some effort?! Also very unfortunate though as I have found good wooden spoons to be very hard to find. We have some average ones but I admire my parents whenever I am in their kitchen. I hope you find a new one soon - and perhaps don't let Andy near it!

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  9. I've actually had a bit of a run of things breaking in our kitchen. A slate floor is not forgiving. The most annoying was breaking a saucer of my good dinner set (luckily I have a setting for 16 so it isn't the end of the earth). The most amazing was when S managed to chip a piece off the turntable in the microwave. I still have no idea how he did that.
    That much soaking time never works for me. I'm far too disorganised to allow for that much prep time.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I have no idea how one chips a piece of the microwave turntable either. Points to S for creative breaking! How frustrating about your dinner set - hopefully future dinner parties won't stretch beyond 15 people and you'll be ok :P

      I'm usually too disorganised for soaking time too. It sounds like lots of others don't both so maybe I'll adopt that approach in future.

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  10. Ah, kitchen endeavours... trial and error, huh? Bummer on the lid, that sucks! I think this is why I don't follow recipes... when I do I always make mistakes and end up disappointed!

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    1. Trial and error indeed! And I'm glad I have a fellow non-recipe follower - it does seem to give me more success!

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  11. i ALWAYS am a broken down mess in the kitchen! ;) but i think if i go in with no expectations i wind up somewhat ahead, or behind, or maybe breaking even! hehe. ;) gotta say the risotto at least looks yummy from this end of the screen. :)

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    1. Thanks Cait! And it seems there are a few of us who make messes in the kitchen - bit of a relief :)

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  12. I dropped a cast iron pot that had been heated to 450F on my ceramic cooktop and it went right through. I understand your pain.

    Not sure what I think of the split pea risotto. Maybe I just don't know enough about risotto but I would think finding rice would be a good thing. :) I do like the flavors in it.

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    1. Oh no - that does not sound like a good kitchen scenario at all. Plus you would have a hot mess to clear up! Eek.

      Finding rice would definitely be a good thing! Risotto rice might be a better match in future (as one might expect really).

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  13. I go through phases of breaking ALL THE THINGS, then none of the things. Also, since when can basmati even be called a risotto?! Bah, humbug! :P All this needs is a lot of tabasco and nooch ;)

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    1. Does the switch from breaking all the things to none of the things occur when you have run out of things, due to the aforementioned breaking? :D

      Basmati definitely can't be called a risotto. But I have to take some responsibility for that as the original recipe just called for plain white rice! I thought basmatic might be better, but yes, in future - risotto rice for risotto dishes would be a good idea :)

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  14. I am a serious mess in the kitchen!!
    I am always dropping and breaking things..so no worries.
    This recipe definitely sounds promising!! :)

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    1. Thanks Kristen, I am feeling much better about my clumsiness now!

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  15. ahhh!! I hate shattering things! Because in our house (and in my past) we always take our shoes off so it makes me paranoid that something will cut our feet. Reasonable fear, though! :P

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    1. Reasonable fear indeed - I had socks but no shoes on when this lid dropped, so it was a concern of mine too!

      Delete

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