15 March 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge - Risotto with Caramelized Onions & Roquefort Cheese

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf. The main requirement of the challenge was that we must make our own stock and the risotto base.

The base consisted of wine, rice, oil, stock, cheese and butter. Then we had to choose our own variation of risotto after the base was made. I had some Roquefort blue cheese waiting for me to consume, so decided on a risotto with caramelized onions and Roquefort. I can't remember where I first saw this risotto combination (either through blog surfing or in one of my recipe books). I think I originally came across it when searching for a base recipe for the Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Blue Cheese sauce to go with my Beef Burgers. The risotto I had in mind, was quite different to that cheese sauce. I haven't been able to locate the original recipe, but I do remember there was the port, red onions and blue cheese in the ingredients list.

Making your own stock made a major different in taste. I used a couple of chicken thigh pieces instead of a whole chook. Originally I was thinking just adding the caramelized onions was going to be a bit dull, but it actually enhance the base flavour of the risotto.

I usually use butter for my base instead of olive oil, but I think the olive oil did work better. At least I don't have to be careful about getting my butter burnt. Thank you Eleanor and Jess for the wonderful challenge! :)

Chicken Stock

  • 1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg
  • chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg
  • 2 onions, roughly diced
  • 1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)
  • peel of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  1. Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
  2. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
  3. Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
  4. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
  5. Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
  6. Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
  7. Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 

  8. The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.

Risotto Base

  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 small onion (quatered)**
  • 400g rice (Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli)
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 1 L chicken or vegetable stock , simmering
  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
  2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
  3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
  5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step.. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
  7. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.
** Note: Since I was making a Caramelized Onion Risotto, I diced up my onion into smaller cubes and left them in also.

Risotto with Caramelized Onions and Roquefort Cheese

  • 1 litre chicken broth - See recipe above
  • Risotto Base - See recipe above
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large red onions (thinly sliced)
  • 2 twigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup ruby port
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
  • 60g Roquefort (or try goat cheese for a non-blue option) - about 1 tablespoon per serving
  1. In a separate 10-inch pan with a lid, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the red onions and cook for about 5 minutes to soften. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low.
  2. Continue to cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the port. Simmer the onions and let the port reduce until completely dry, about 25 more minutes. Remove pan from the heat and set a side.
  3. While the onions is cooking, in a heavy base pot (I used my dutch oven pot) make the risotto. See risotto base recipe above.
  4. Once you are at the final stage of the base risotto, pour in the last 100ml of stock, then stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, Parmesan cheese and the caramelized onions.
  5. Cover the pot with the lid, and let the risotto sit and rest for about 5 minutes.
  6. To serve, spoon the risotto into shallow bowls and sprinkle the top with small pieces of Roquefort.


  1. I have to admit that does looks so delicious and scrumptious. And the flavour combination (caramelized onions and Roquefort) sounds extra yummy and I love the shine on your rice. Well done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Thanks Audax... yours looks amazing!! I'm going to try out the risotto focaccia the next time i have leftovers.. :)


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