This is a dish that nods to Spring’s departure and welcomes Summer into the ether.
The world would call this dish risotto, but it turns out that risotto doesn’t have to be made with arborio rice, it can be made with any rice and almost any grain, for that matter. This dish was inspired by the fresh English peas I received in my Dominion Harvest box in late May. When given fresh English peas you must, must immediately buy mint. The English lightly saute their peas in butter and sprinkle them with mint. I’m not sure why, but it’s a combination that will leave you craving mint every time you see fresh peas just out of their pods.
The creaming comes from the gentle adding of warm liquid and constant stirring that any good risotto maker knows already. Risotto used to scare me as it requires a bit of technique. But, it turns out that technique is really just patience and vigilance. It takes about 30 minutes of constant stirring and watching, but the result is so worth it and the dish seems like so much more work than what is actually involved. And this one, is light, a perfect Spring or Summer side dish, or main for vegetarians. Go all out with the mint if you love it. The brightness just sings of Spring and happiness.
*The cheese in my photos here is actually not Chevre, but a super fancy French cheese I got at our newly opened Wegmans. Chevre will do fine, but if you can find a very soft, bright tasting cheese then go for it. You want a mild flavor with a creamy texture and a little tang.
**I did not use brown rice (though you could, but the cooking will take much longer). This dark color comes from the store bought vegetable stock, organic yet still store bought. Make your own if you can.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup long grain rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (warmed), divided
- ⅔ cup evaporated milk
- 1¼ cup fresh or frozen green peas
- ¼ cup chevre, crumbled
- 1½ tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
- Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the rice. Stir and toast the rice until most of the grains are opaque (they go from an almost translucent to a milky white).
- Pour in the wine and stir until mostly absorbed.
- When there is just a little bit of liquid in the pan, begin adding the chicken stock a ½ cup at a time. After each addition you will stir the rice until it is mostly absorbed. All together this takes 20-30 minutes, but it's super important to do these small additions and stirring as this helps bring out the starch and creates the creamy effect (without cream).
- After you've added all the stock and it is mostly absorbed, pour in the evaporated milk and your peas. You could use fat free evaporated milk here or heavy cream, depending on how your diet is going that day.
- Stir the peas until they turn a bright green. If that isn't happening quickly, place the lid on your pan and leave it for a few minutes.
- When peas have cooked, plate your rice by dolloping your cheese and sprinkling with fresh chopped mint.