I come from a long line of good cooks and self-styled foodies. My brother is a better than decent cook and my sister in law is a great cook. They had two kids together, neither of whom was a picky eater as a child and both of whom appreciate a good meal. My nephew is in culinary school now and is a fellow lover of pickles and spices. My niece is an outstanding baker who also knows her way around the kitchen. This love of food thing is definitely in the DNA.
It just so happens that my niece is visiting us from OSU for her Spring Break. And what a beautiful Spring day it is in Colorado. Sunny and a warm 70 degrees with a slight breeze. Not exactly the kind of day for a hearty crock pot meal but that is what I had planned and shopped for so we carry on, sunshine be damned.
My niece is a champion risotto maker having been trained well by her Mother to never stop stirring and to add the liquid s-l-o-w-l-y. Those are the 2 most important things to remember about making good risotto. Tonight’s menu is asian inspired pork shoulder ribs served over classic risotto made with parmesan and white wine. Salad on the side and a Tony’s Pound Cake that I intend to dress up a bit.
Slice a large sweet onion and place the slices in the bottom of a crock pot. I use minced garlic that comes in a large jar and I place 2-3 T of garlic on the onions. Salt and pepper pork shoulder ribs and place on the onions fat side up. I added a jar of sesame ginger sauce but you could add any kind of BBQ or other marinade to get the flavor you like best. I added some extra ginger and sesame seeds.
Cook on low 10-12 hours or high 5-6 hours. Right before you serve dinner start the risotto. Chop an onion finely and saute in olive oil and/or butter–about 2-3 T–over medium heat until the onion is soft but not brown. Add 1-2 cups of arborio rice and cook for 1 minute. Add 5 cups of chicken broth–ONE CUP AT A TIME–stirring constantly over medium-low heat. Continue adding liquid, making sure to use at least a cup of white wine for flavor, and stirring, until the rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed–about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan into the rice and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the ribs over the risotto. This is a rich dish so a small portion is still very satisfying. We are having a spinach salad on the side tossed with mandarin oranges, green onions, crispy ginger strips, a little feta and finished with a rice wine vinaigrette to keep the Asian theme going.
We depart from our Asian inspired flavor for dessert though. Tony’s had a “buy one get one free” sale on pound cake. Who can pass that up? Not me. Add a little locally made vanilla bean ice cream and a strawberry sauce made from heating Smucker’s Strawberry Jam, a touch of apricot preserves with a bit of orange juice and powdered sugar–cooking over low heat until thickened and drizzling it over the ice cream and pound cake.
Sunday dinner with an actual blood relative that I did not marry or give birth to. This makes me very happy as I miss the Sunday dinners I used to share with my brother’s family back in Ohio. Its nice to have Kelsey in the Casa Kitchen for Sunday Dinner. This pic is of three generations of Collins cooks–from left to right my niece, Mother, daughter and yours truly. Enjoying a dinner we did NOT cook on a family cruise in 2007.