Cooking with chia for dummies, 265pp.
by Barrie Rogers and Debbie Dooly
John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ, 2014
Cooking on page 132
About a month ago I succumbed to the health reports and bought a kilo of chia seeds. I poured off a couple of jars to share with family and friends, and then scratched my head over what to do with the remainder.
I did some research and found that chia seeds have been around for centuries. They were an important food for the Aztecs, and are high in fibre, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Nutritionists call them a superfood with a long list of potential health benefits. Here’s a bit more about them.
In search of recipes, I trotted off to the local library and checked out a For dummies book. Smart move because it gave me plenty of ideas. Page 32 covered general info on chia seeds, so I moved on to page 132.
Red pepper risotto
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 red bell pepper, stalks and seeds removed, finely diced
4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon whole chia seeds
pinch of chili flakes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil.
Add the onion and cook for 8 minutes; add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the rice and make sure it all gets coated in the butter.
Add the wine and cook while stirring for 1 minute, until the wine has evaporated.
Add the bell pepper and cook for another 2 minutes.
In a separate saucepan, warm the chicken stock over medium heat until it nearly reaches a simmer. Add 1 ladle of the chicken stock to the rice mixture and cook while stirring until it reduces down; add another ladle of the chicken stock. Repeat, adding stock until it has absorbed, and then adding more when necessary. Continue stirring all the time while the rice is absorbing the stock.
Continue until the stock is gone and the rice is soft, tender, and creamy but still firm in the center. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat, add the chia, and stir well. Stir in the chili flakes and cheese and serve.
How it played out
This seemed the perfect recipe to use up of last of a homemade chicken stock I made earlier in the week.
So with everything spread out and ready to go, I made the mistake of checking the best-before date on the rice. I knew I hadn’t made risotto for a very long time. The rice was nine years out-of-date. Oops! Picture me red-faced and picture Poor John on an emergency run to the supermarket.
The rest of the process went smoothly and slowly—with the ladling in and stirring of chicken stock taking almost 40 minutes. No wonder I don’t make risotto often.
I used a nice Margaret River dry white wine—Art by EVOI—from Naked Wines (they support new winemakers). I also used a few extra pinches of chili flakes and doubled the cheese. Who could get by with a meager 1/4 cup of Parmesan?
A tasty risotto that is easy to make. I’d probably throw in still more pinches of chilli.
I’m glad I’ve started using up the chia and think I’ll add a few teaspoons to lots of recipes. Lots of possibilities—salads, cereals, casseroles, soups, breads and more. And a teaspoon of chia seeds has 46 calories (192) kilojoules).
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