One-pot wonder


HEARTY AND WARMING Easy-to-make, a haddock risotto is a perfect winter comfort food.


Redmond Cabot

While risotto tends to be associated with spring, summer and even autumn before winter, I recently came across a cabbage and haddock variation, which suits my current love of winter meals. Winter greens, of the Brassica family (which include cabbage), are fabulously healthy and important for healthy bodies and minds, and they add such a vibrant colour to a dish. You could use broccoli or spinach instead of cabbage here if you prefer.
The appeal of this recipe is that it is a ‘one-pot wonder’, with quite sexy and appealing flavours. It is quick to prepare and quick to cook. A perfect winter comfort food, and not too expensive.
Be quite precise about the times; it can become solid and stodgy if over-cooked, but the flavours are there, and the result is magnificent for the relatively small amount of labour and preparation. I would have gotten it perfectly right first time had our kitten not attacked our young toddler Louis, scraping his chest as she flew threw the air on her way down the stairs … the food stayed cooking too long while I dealt with the fall out!

Cabbage and haddock risotto
What you need

  • 300g risotto rice
  • 300g lovely winter green cabbage in hearty slices/chunks
  • 400g smoked haddock with skin removed (just ask your fishmonger to remove it when you buy it, if you don’t want to do this yourself)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 ltr veg stock (remember I always use half-strength stock dilution in my cooking)
  • 3 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning

What you do
Use a ceramic or casserole dish and pre-heat your oven to 180°c. First, add a good glug of oil and cook the onions over a medium heat for five minutes. Simply stir in the risotto rice, stirring to coat with the onion and oil. Use a good old-fashioned wooden spoon (The Brunette is at war against wooden spoons; I love them, the more battered and used the better!).
Pour in your stock all in in one go, stir well and bring to the boil. Then add the cabbage on top, cover and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the dish, place it on the counter and stir your rice goodo. Lay the smoked fish fillets on top and bake in the oven for five minutes with the lid on. Remove and flake or break up the fish into pieces, add the crème fraiche and half your cheese, and stir all into the rice mix. Season, and top your dish with remaining cheese. Hearty, warming and very little washing up.

> Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.