In some supermarkets, ready cooked and prepared beetroot is cheaper than buying it in bunches, not to mention quicker to cook! I’ve used the pre-packed variety in my recipe, but feel free to use fresh beetroot if you prefer, but it will need at least an extra 10 minutes in the oven. This recipe uses some of my staple ingredients that I always have to hand: chicken stock, garlic, and long grain rice – yes, long grain rice in risotto. It’s how my mother makes it!
Ingredients (serves four):
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp oil
500ml chicken stock
3 tbsp red wine
2 tsp mixed herbs
First, preheat your oven to 200C, and pop the kettle on to boil.
Next, prepare the beetroot. If you are using fresh beetroot, peel it, rinse it, and dice into 1cm chunks. If you are using pre-packed cooked beetroot, simply rinse it and dice it. Place it in a roasting dish, toss in 1tbsp oil and the mixed herbs, and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges start to slightly char.
While the beetroot is roasting, prepare the risotto. Finely chop the garlic, and add to a large frying or sauté pan with the other tablespoon of oil. Sauté on a very low heat, until the garlic starts to soften.
Tip in the rice and stir to lightly coat in oil. Turn the heat up to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the ends of the rice are translucent. Add the wine and stir well.
While the wine is absorbing, make up the stock. Crumble the stock cube into 500ml of boiling water, and stir well to dissolve. Add a generous splash of stock to the pan, and stir well to disturb the rice and prevent it from sticking. When the stock is absorbed, add another splash. Continue until there is around a quarter of the stock left.
Remove the beetroot from the oven and mash well with a fork or masher. Tip the mashed beetroot and any oil, juices and herbs from the pan into the risotto and stir well.
Continue to add the stock until the rice is al dente and the risotto is slightly soupy. Crumble the Brie on top and fold in before serving to melt slightly.
Serve with green salad as a light lunch, or crusty bread and green vegetables for a hearty warming dinner.
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe
Ingredient costs: all Sainsburys, correct at date of publication. 2 cloves of garlic, 5p (50p/2 bulbs, avg 10 cloves each). 2 tbsp oil, 5p (£4.50/3l). 300g rice, 12p (40p/1kg). 1 chicken stock cube, 2p (20p/10). 250g cooked beetroot, 80p (80p/250g). 2 tsp mixed Italian herbs, 6p (30p/42g). 45ml red wine, 21p (£3.50/75cl). 50g French mild Brie, 27p (£1.09/200g). Total: £1.58/4 servings.