Recently I had an unexpected opportunity for a girl’s night! I was very excited, this is a rare occurrence for me these days, what with two
boys males in the house, there’s usually at least one of them around to add testosterone to any conversation. Not that I mind, but you know, sometimes it is nice to just hang out with your girly girls!
In honour of my man & little man heading off for an overnight trip to visit family for a celebration, I had time in the afternoon / evening to put together a lovely girly meal, with all the trimmings … yep, there was chocolate involved! But first, I wanted to make something delicate, but dense, slow cooked, but fresh, sweet, but with a little bite. Nothing simple about my desires is there?!?
With all that ‘taste’ in mind, I decided to try to make something that would showcase the wonderful flavour, colour & texture of the Black Garlic I was so generously sent by the lovely Kerrie from The Farmer & the Chef. Let me tell you, these little black cloves are absolutely A.MAZ.ING!! Soft & delicate, you expect to bite into them & get a hit of savoury / bitter garlic goodness & taste, but instead your taste buds go into shock at the sweet, almost molasses like flavour that greets you.
I was blown away by Black Garlic from the first bite & really had to pull myself back from just gorging by the clove – as is, no cooking, no adding, just raw, fresh & divine!!
According to Wikipedia (the fount of all of my, ‘what’s this all about’, knowledge);
Black garlic is a type of fermented garlic used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by fermenting whole bulbs of garlic at high temperature, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or even tamarind. Black garlic’s popularity has spread to the United States as it has become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine. It is unrelated to a genetically unique six-clove garlic also called black garlic and used in countries such as Korea, or with the ornamental plant Allium nigrum.
Information Source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_garlic_(food)
By using the garlic as part of this overall, slow cooked risotto, packed with leek, fresh lemon, freshly grated Parmesan cheese & just a little bit of cream, the sweetness of the garlic cuts through the density of the cheese & bitterness of the lemon to balance this dish out beautifully. Throw in some left over roast chicken & baby spinach & you are done. A meal in a bowl – rich, creamy, sweet-ish & satisfying. Can’t do much better than that for the a girly gathering now can you!
Here’s how it goes …
- 1 litre salt reduced vegetable stock
- 70 grams unsalted butter -halved
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 leek, chopped finely
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 300 grams risotto rice – Arborio is best
- 150 ml white wine - (optional) - I left this out
- 100 grams parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 5 cloves of black garlic**, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon zest & juice
- 2 tablespoons cooking cream or crème fraiche - (I used Philadelphia Cream for Cooking*)
- 1 cooked chicken breast - (I used left over roast)
- 2 big handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to season
- Over medium high flame, heat stock in a medium saucepan until well warmed through.
- Keep stock on low heat while making risotto.
- In a large saucepan, over medium high flame, heat half the butter and the oil, until the butter is almost melted.
- Reduce to medium heat & add onion and leek and cook gently until slightly softened.
- Add rice and stir with a wooden spoon, ensuring all grains are coated in the butter and oil and well heated through.
- (Optional) - Add the white wine and stir, letting it bubble and reduce,
- Adding a ladleful of stock at a time, gently stir constantly making sure that the grains of rice are in the liquid.
- As each ladleful is absorbed and the bottom of the pan becomes dry, add another - (it took me about 6 ladles each taking about 4 minutes to absorb).
- The rice is cooked when a grain split will reveal just a little speck of white remaining in the centre - (about 20 – 25 minutes).
- Add black garlic, lemon juice and zest. Stir well.
- Add Parmesan cheese, remaining butter and the cream / crème fraiche.
- Add cooked chicken & spinach leaves & mix in gently.
- Taste test & season.
- Do not stir too much at this point and put a lid on the pan.
- Remove from heat & allow to stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Tips / Suggestions -
- ** You can use normal garlic cloves if you do not have black ones - just use 3 only. It will not have the same sweetness, but is still delicious!
The most gorgeous girl in my world;
Once again, thanks so much to Kerrie from The Farmer & the Chef for being so kind as to send me a sample of their gorgeous produce – I still have some left too – so can hopefully feature it in another recipe very soon! I appreciate the gesture & hope that I have given some justice to the magnificence of Black Garlic!
I hope you enjoy this as much as my little girly girl & I did!
Have you got a favourite ‘girl’s night in’ recipe you like to use? Have you seen or eaten black garlic before? I’d love to hear about it!
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Cook! Eat! Enjoy!