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Saffron Corn and Chorizo Risotto with Argentinian Red Shrimp

Hello friends, can you believe it's the end of 2018? Where did it go. For me it's been a very busy, exciting, emotional and dynamic year. Lots of firsts. I became a grandmother, Carlos become our town's Mayor, youngest in the town's history and one of the first Portuguese mayors in the United Kingdom's history! I went to Portugal, the U.S.A and to France. The blog's popularity has soared and I am finally drafting my book. Phew...that is a lot.

With our busy schedules, I decided to stay in this year. Just us and a few of our closest friends. A little dinner, music and two surprise Champagne cocktails at midnight. They aren't new, but you are gonna love them.

This risotto is creamy and delicious, with little spoonfuls of corn and chorizo in every bite. The Argentinian red shrimp is large and succulent. Marinated before pan frying and then flambéed with a shot of fine brandy! Topped off with a soft poached egg.

Breaking the yolk at the table and stirring it into the rice....OMG!! This dish just might be better than sex...ok so we won't go that far, but it's pretty damn close.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.


Saffron Corn and Chorizo Risotto with Argentinian Red Shrimp

Serves 4

Tip: Make the eggs first and the shrimp after risotto is cooked, but before adding butter and cheese to finish. Read recipe all the way through before you begin to ensure success.

For the risotto:

250 g. Carnaroli rice, the only Italian rice variety I use

150 g. Chorizo, small diced and divided (half will be used for the shrimp stir fry)

125 ml. Dry white wine

1 L. Chicken stock, or water

1 tsp. Saffron threads

6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter , plus 1 tbsp. extra to sauté

100 g. Parmesan cheese, or more to taste

125 g. Onion, very finely chopped

150 g. Corn, canned and drained

3 Cloves of garlic, minced

Salt and Pepper to taste, I used white pepper

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add chicken stock and saffron and heat through. Lower heat and keep on a simmer.

2. In a large, high sided frying pan, on low to medium heat, add 1 tbsp. butter, half of chorizo, garlic and onions, cook and stir often with a wooden spoon until onions are softened, but not browned. Add corn and let fry for 2 minutes more, stirring a few times.

3. Add rice and stir with wooden spoon, continuously, to toast and coat with chorizo and onion mixture. About 1-11/2 minutes. Add wine. Mixture will sizzle furiously. Stir with wooden spoon continuously, until all the wine is evaporated.

4. Add hot, saffron infused chicken stock by the ladleful, until rice is just covered. Stir continuously until each ladle of stock is absorbed. Total time should be between 15-18 minutes. Rice is done when it is soft, but with a pleasant bite to it. Creamy, but not too wet. If it is underdone, just add a bit more hot stock or water.

5. Turn off heat. Start shrimp.

6. Stir in remaining 6 tbsps. of butter. Add Parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate. Add salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind cheese is salty.

6. Serve immediately.

For the shrimp:

30 minutes before starting recipe

400 g. Jumbo Argentine Red Shrimp

1/2 Lemon, juice and zest

1 tsp. Sweet paprika, pimentón dulce

1 tsp. Crushed chilli flakes, optional

2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil

30 ml. Brandy, I used Cîroc VS brandy, optional

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 Chorizo, reserved from above to pan fry

1. Peel, devein, and wash the shrimp. You can leave the tail on, as I did, if you’d like. Place in a bowl. Add the salt, paprika, zest and juice of 1/2 lemon and crushed red chilli flakes, if using. Set aside.

2. When the risotto is finished. Heat a large frying pan on high heat. Add olive oil and chorizo. Stir fry for 2 minutes or until chorizo is golden brown and has rendered it's red fat, stirring often.

3. Add shrimp, reserving marinade, and fry for 2 minutes on each side. Add brandy and ignite, being careful to stand back. let cook until flames die down. You can omit this step if you are not comfortable with flambéing and just fry the shrimp.

Add marinade and cook for 30 seconds more. Turn off heat.

4. Meanwhile, finish risotto from step 6 above. Plate risotto and arrange shrimp and egg on top. Pour shrimp pan drippings on and around risotto.

For the eggs:

Can be made ahead and lowered into hot water to heat through before serving.

4 Eggs, large and preferably free range

1 tsp. Vinegar

Pinch of salt

Ice cubes and water

Fill a bowl with ice cold water, set aside

Fill a small saucepan halfway with water, vinegar and salt, and bring to a simmer.

You don't want a roaring boil, just a gentle simmer.

Crack one egg into a small dish/ bowl.

Using the handle of a wooden spoon, quickly stir water in a clockwise direction until it's all gently spinning around.

Carefully lower egg into water.

Let cook for 2 minutes, lift with slotted spoon and immediately place in bowl with ice cold water, to stop the cooking. Repeat with all eggs. Set pan aside with reserved water to reheat, just before serving.

Just before serving, reheat water, lower eggs into water for 30 seconds. Lift with slotted spoon and place atop rice, being careful not to break the yolk.

To garnish: All optional

Watercress, it's peppery bite pairs beautifully with citrus tastes

Paprika filaments, available online

Extra grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

I suggest a Chardonnay wine with this dish. I served a Chardonnay IGP Languedoc, from France.

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