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Loaded Sweet Potato Risotto

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

A creamy comfort food risotto brimming with nutrient-packed sweet potatoes and all the [not-so-nutrient-packed] fixings. Two starches and lots of color easily make this risotto fit for an entree.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (salted Or Unsalted)
  • 1 pound Sweet Potatoes, Peeled And Cut Into 1/4 To 1/2 Inch Dice
  • 8 ounces, weight Bacon, Thick Cut and Uncured Recommended, Halved Lengthwise Then Cut Into 1/2 Inch Pieces
  • 1 quart Vegetable Stock Or Broth
  • 2 cups Water
  • ½  Large Yellow Or White Onion, Chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic (large Cloves) Peeled And Minced
  • 1-½ cup Dry Arborio Rice
  • ½ cups Dry White Wine (e.g., Sauvignon Blanc)
  • ½ cups Sour Cream (full Fat Recommended)
  • 1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese (or More As Desired)
  • Chopped Chives Or Parsley For Garnish
  • Black Pepper And Salt To Taste

Preparation

In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add diced sweet potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of black pepper, and stir to coat in butter. Arrange potatoes in close to a single layer. Cook without stirring for 3 to 5 minutes so potatoes start to sizzle and brown. Then stir every 2 to 3 minutes, allowing potatoes to brown on all sides. After about 10 to 12 minutes, when potatoes are mostly browned, remove them from the Dutch oven to a dish and set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat and add the bacon. Stir occasionally, breaking up the pieces, until most of the fat has rendered and the bacon is just starting to brown and crisp, which may take up to 30 minutes for crisp bacon. Don’t rush it by turning up the heat. Remove bacon onto paper towels using a slotted spoon. Leave 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan (discard the rest). If there’s less than 2 tablespoons of fat, add a little butter or vegetable oil to compensate.

In a medium saucepan over another burner, heat stock (or broth) and water to a simmer, then reduce heat to low to keep warm until needed. Have a small glass measuring cup or ladle ready for use.

Back in the Dutch oven, return the heat to medium. Add onion and cook (it should sizzle), stirring with a wooden spoon, for 3 or 4 minutes or until softened. Then add garlic and cook another minute, continuing to stir.

Add rice to the Dutch oven and stir almost constantly (so the rice doesn’t stick to the pan) for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the wine into the rice, and bring up the heat a little at a time so the mixture bubbles just slightly. Stir until the wine has absorbed/evaporated.

Add one ladle or cup full of warm stock to the rice, then stir almost constantly (at least every 30 seconds) until almost all the liquid has absorbed. It’s most important to stir when almost all the liquid has absorbed, to prevent rice from sticking to the pan. Once the liquid has mostly absorbed, add another ladle or cup of stock to the rice, and repeat the absorption process. Continue in this manner, adding more liquid and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a little bubbling.

After adding about 3 cups of stock, start tasting the rice for doneness before adding more liquid. The risotto should be soft, but not mushy—slightly al dente, similar to a good restaurant risotto, if you’ve had one. I used 4.5 cups of stock added over 25 minutes.

When the liquid is absorbed and the rice is the desired texture, add another 1/4 cup of the stock to the rice, stir to incorporate, then turn off the heat before the liquid has a chance to absorb. This will keep the risotto creamy when adding volume via the potatoes and bacon later.

Stir in the sour cream, grated cheese, and salt and pepper. Start with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, taste, and adjust if needed. Fold in all but a few of the sweet potatoes and bacon pieces, trying not to smash the potatoes.

To serve, scoop into dishes and garnish with the chopped herbs and extra potatoes and bacon pieces.

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