There is no food more versatile than the potato – fried, boiled, baked, or roasted, potatoes are satisfying, nutritious (with more potassium than a banana), and always delicious. As an Italian Islander I have two comfort food staples: risotto and potatoes. So I decided to marry them into a single dish with a play on everyone’s favourite – the loaded baked potato. The russet potatoes generously soak up all the bold flavours from the bacon, beer, and cheddar, creating a rich, velvety dish.
Loaded Baked Potato Risotto – Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 PEI russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 1/3 cups Gahan Iron Bridge Brown Ale
4 -5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup grated COWS Creamery extra old cheddar
5 slices thick cut bacon from your local butcher, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped chives
4 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraîche
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally until soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the potatoes and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes until the rice is slightly toasted and translucent. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the beer, stirring frequently until absorbed.
4. Add a ladle or two of stock to the rice and stir until completely absorbed, repeat this procedure until rice is tender but al dente. The whole process will take about 20-25 minutes.
5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter, 1/4 cup of the cheese and half of the bacon.
6. Portion out the risotto into bowls and top with more cheese, bacon, chives, and sour cream. Serve immediately as risotto continues to thicken as it sits.