Spud Sunday: Starch-Trekkin’

Fear not. I have not, in point of fact, departed the earth’s cosy atmosphere.

I do, however, have something for you that might be considered, well, a little out there.

To borrow a Star Trekkin’ phrase, it’s risotto Jim, but not as we know it. Because why? Because potatoes have boldly gone where no potatoes have gone before: they have replaced rice as the risotto Chief of Starch.

Potato Guinness Risotto

Risotto but, er, without the rice

Now, I can’t lay claim to originating the idea of a potato risotto. Watching Gordon Ramsay’s Best Restaurant this week, I witnessed Michelin-starred Peter and Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias from Casa Mia in Bristol serve just such a “risotto” during the competition final.

I did take it a step further, however, and made it a truly Irish affair by using Guinness where you would normally use white wine. I mean to say, if Guinness is good in a potato gratin, then chances are it’ll be good in a potato risotto. And so it was. Very good, in fact, with meaty mushrooms for company, thyme, sage and parsley doing their herbal thing and an obligatory flourish of Irish cheese. Definitely worthy of becoming a regular at my table. It will, however, need a proper name, don’t you think? I’d love to hear your suggestions for same.

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An Irish “Risotto” with Potatoes, Mushrooms & Guinness

The method here is pretty much as per traditional risotto, where liquid is added to a starch component in stages, stirred until absorbed, and the process repeated until the starch has cooked. I’m just using a different starch and different liquid.

You will, of course, need to cut your potatoes into rice-ish sized pieces first. My potato pieces were perhaps not quite as small as your average grain of rice and yours don’t need to be either. The main thing is that they are fairly small and roughly evenly sized. And, just as you would choose starchy arborio rice for risotto, I suspect that starchy (aka floury) potatoes will be best for this – Russets (in the US) or Roosters (here in Ireland) should serve you well.

For the stock, I used a mushroom-based vegetable stock which worked well, though you can use a chicken stock or other vegetable stock as you prefer. To complete the Irish risotto experience, you can use Desmond cheese, a full-flavoured hard cheese from Cork, but the more traditional parmesan is, of course, allowed.

You’ll need:
  • butter for frying
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms (or use a mixture of chestnut and shiitake mushrooms), sliced
  • 2 large-ish potatoes (about 400g once peeled), preferably floury
  • approx 400ml vegetable stock
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 medium onion (about 150g), finely chopped
  • 0.5 tsp dried thyme
  • 0.25 tsp dried sage
  • salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 150ml Guinness or other stout
  • 25g desmond cheese (if you can lay your hands on it) or use parmesan, finely grated
  • approx. 4 tblsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 0.25 tsp lemon zest or more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
You’ll also need:
  • A deep-sided frying pan, mine was about 26cm wide.
The Steps:
  • Place your pan over a medium heat and add about 1 tblsp of butter. When the butter has melted, add the sliced mushrooms. Avoid stirring until the mushrooms have shrunk and released their juices. Fry until well browned and the mushrooms have reabsorbed any liquid, around 12-15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
  • While the mushrooms are frying, scrub and peel your potatoes. Cut into slices around 2mm thick. Stack the slices and cut into sticks about 2mm wide and then into approx. 1cm lengths.
  • Place your stock in a small saucepan and keep at a simmer over a low heat.
  • Using the same pan that you used for the mushrooms, return the pan to a medium heat, add about 2 tsp butter and 2 tsp olive oil. When hot, add the onion, thyme, sage and a pinch of salt. Stir and fry for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and stir and fry for another minute or so.
  • Add the potato pieces, stir briefly, then add the Guinness. Stir until the liquid has mostly been absorbed. Add a ladle of stock to the potatoes and continue stirring, again until the liquid has mostly been absorbed. Continue adding ladles of stock and stirring, until the potato pieces are just tender, around 25-30 minutes.
  • Stir in the fried mushrooms and cook for about another minute more.
  • Remove from the heat, stir in about half of the grated cheese, half of the chopped parsley and the lemon zest. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and additional salt if you think it needs it.
  • Serve sprinkled with the remaining grated cheese and chopped parsley.
The Variations:
  • As with a regular risotto, the variations are, I think, endless. You can certainly use white wine in place of the beer and make any number of potato-friendly additions.
The Results:
  • “Risotto” for 2
Comments
  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Daily Spud, Jun Belen. Jun Belen said: Cool! RT @DailySpud Introducing the Irish "risotto": plenty of potatoes and Guinness and not a grain of rice to be seen. http://su.pr/2kOXjO [...]

  • How ’bout “Ristato”?

  • Ristato? I like it, Alexis, nice one!

  • Ha, ha! I love Alexis’ suggestion for the name. This is such a brilliant idea and the Guinness takes it over the top the way Guinness has a way of doing. Such a great recipe and unique twist!

  • Hey Lori, glad you liked it! It was such a brilliant idea to begin with and I just couldn’t resist the Guinness twist :)

  • Hmm, the only thing I can think of is ‘Spudotto’. I think Ristato is better, my suggestion sounds like a bizarre Irish Lottery where you win potatoes instead of money.

  • Spudotto is what I came up with too, Diane, and didn’t think it was a winner, though if I were looking to name a potato lottery, it would be right on the money! Someone else came up with Spudsotto, which is an improvement, but I think Ristato still has the edge!

  • Okay the video is just too cute.

  • Waw, my friend!! That is such a COOl & inventive idea!! Potatoes instead of rice in a spudisotto!

    Hahahahahaha,..Looks tremendously tasty!! Good job!

  • Medifast: ah, that video is a classic, always makes me smile!

    Sophie: Thank you! And I’m liking Spudisotto as a name too :)

  • Fabulous recipe. Really funny, clever post.

  • I love the idea of potato risotto! And of course it sounds especially fabulous with Guinness! How about posotto?

  • Lora: hey, thanks so much for stopping by to say so

    5 Star Foodie: oh Natasha, I love it – posotto is my favourite so far!

  • I am loving this one! This is proof that the spud makes just as nice a risotto as aborio rice. Awesome!!!

  • Thanks Velva! Glad you like :)

  • Ha – love ristato for the dish name! :D

  • Seems to be a popular choice, Biz!

  • The name rissoto gives me memories…I used to love and crave them when I was pregnant with my daughter….

  • Hi Sharon, thanks so much for stopping by. Glad to know that risotto has good memories for you :)

  • You are a genius – I do love the sounds of this and with that colcannon I sense a potato themed dinner in the near future.

  • I am loving this post! The video however got to me after only a few seconds…where in the world is Carmen San…oh never mind Heh!

  • OysterCulture: well, you’ve come to the right place if a potato-themed dinner is what you’re after :)

    Chef E: I guess the video, if nothing else, certainly grabs one’s attention! I had to look up the reference to Carmen San, though – not something I grew up with.

  • It is nigh impossible to get a rice-girl like me to consider foregoing rice in favor of potato in a rice dish, but you managed it! This I gotta try! 8-)

  • Coming from the Rice Lady, I am taking that as a real compliment TN!

  • I made this recipe for dinner with some pork chops and boy were these potatoes delicious! Flavorful, tender, and amazingly easy! Instead of vegetable stock I used chicken stock (it’s what I had on hand) and dried Parsley. Overall it came out good. This recipe is for sure something to stick to for now on :)

  • Thanks so much for stopping by to let me know, Sherily – so glad you liked the recipe!

  • [...] all that I enjoy using potato in unexpected ways – and my recipe for potato ‘risotto’ in the Goodalls Cookbook is a case in point – I also love the downright traditional, and was [...]

  • [...] pudding, cheddar and stout bread; wild garlic and flax seed soda bread; baked brunch baguette; mushroom, stout and potato Irish-style risotto; or my very own Irish farmhouse mac and [...]

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