I fell in love with Italian cuisine when my father used to take me to this small family owned and operated restaurant in our hometown. Now granted I didn’t venture far from home at the time so my experience with Italian food was very limited. A saucy and tangy tomato sauce topped with 2 large and moist meatballs. Yum yum yum…
I endlessly watched Lydia Bastianich when I was growing up with all those old and classic PBS cooking series. I love love loved making pasta at home for my brothers, and experimented constantly with different ways to wrap flavor around and through strands of pasta. I dreamed of studying Italian food with an old Italian grandmother.
One day I discovered risotto and I slowly expanded my repertoire. What I definitely like about this recipe is its warm and rich characteristics. The root vegetables lends a wonderful sweetness and the butter and parmesan add another level of flavor and richness. I wanted to marry the idea of Italian and Vietnamese cooking. So on a cold and foggy San Francisco summer I decided to make an Aborio Rice Porridge. In Vietnamese we call it a Chao…Here is the rough recipe.
Root Vegetable Chao
For the Stock:1/2 Left Over Roasted chicken
1 Large yellow Onion 1 cup stalks of celery 1 cup carrots 1 cup rutabagas
1 cup turnips a good size rind of parmesan Cheese
olive oil, Salt & Pepper, 1 1/2 cup Aborio Rice 4 cloves Garlic The rest of the reserved Root Vegetables. 4 cups Chicken stock 1/2 cup White wine 1 T Marjoram 4 T butter olive oil, Salt & Pepper, Garnish-Cilantro, Scallions, limes.
Season chicken well and roast bones/scraps with salt and pepper, roast on high.
Dice: Onions, Carrots, rutabaga, turnip and celery (reserve 1/2 of each for later). Smash your Cloves Garlic.
Saute onions (sweat) add 2 cloves smashed garlic, add the diced rutabaga and carrots and add your rough minced marjoram as well as butter.
Add stock and a bit of water, now add the roasted chicken, and parm rind. Deglaze the pan with white wine to release the drippings add all the goodness to the stock pot. Season with salt. Simmer for 1-2 hours. Deeper flavors will form when you simmer for longer.
When the hour has past, and flavors have started to mingle, in a soup pot heat your olive oil, Add the 4 cloves of smashed garlic infuse the pan with garlic oil, now add the Aborio rice coat well with oil add a bit of oil and toast lightly. Add your vegetable medley that was saved from earlier and continue to stir cook till onions are slightly transluscent.
While that rice is toasting begin to strain your stock. Remove your chicken pieces and cool.
Add a good heaping amount of stock to your toasted (not burnt) Aborio rice. You want to add about triple the amount of water at once and let simmer. Remember you want a porridge not a risotto so add all liquids at once, but more stock can be added as the process thickens. I think it’s s
o pretty with those sweet root vegetables floating with the Aborio rice. Add more stock depending on how brothy you would like your porridge.
Season well with salt and pepper. When chicken bones are cooled pick apart the meat, and leave some ski
n for a nice richness. Add scraps of meat into the porridge. Stir and let simmer for another 30 minutes. Total give for take an hour or an hour plus+. What about those large chunks of garlic? By this time they have melted and can be smashed down some more to give the porridge a bit of a buttery soft & savory richness. It just adds to the all around wonderful quality of the dish.
By this time the broth has becomes rich and glutenous but still slightly brothy. Garnish with chopped cilantro, green onions, and a wedge of lime.