Well, I could make one more cookie cutter Christmas. I'm good at that ... making cookies, pulling all the same stuff out of the closet and sorting through it meticulously. This year, though, things are a bit different. The kids will be making Christmas Eve dinner. We are attending a different church. I am sick with a horrid cold and don't feel great. I need comfort food, a slow approach to all the decorating and hub-bub. I have been doing a series of home made gifts that I really want to concentrate on and damn the commercial end of things. Thank goodness, I got most of the foodie gifts made before I turned into Typhoid Mary ... now I can sit around on my ass and stitch the rest of the presents ... and hopefully, ditch this sickness!
Yesterday, SB dragged a tree up from the lower field and put the lights on it for me. I know he was trying to help me rally, as I felt like a big pile of 'you know what'. By the end of the afternoon, we had the decorations on the tree and it was just lovely! I took Tylenol and copious glasses of cool water. Then, I made risotto ... hot, goopy risotto that was steamy and sweet with chopped apples, peas, shallots, and apple sausage chunks. It was all I could muster.
Apple and Sausage Risotto
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. shallots, small dice
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 ¼ c. Arborio rice
¼ tsp. dried thyme flakes
black pepper and salt, to taste
1 c. dry white wine
3 ½ c. chicken broth
4 links apple sausage, sliced into bite-sized chunks
1 medium cooking apple, quartered, cored and chopped into small chunks
1 ½ c. frozen peas
2 tbsp. Mascarpone cheese
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
Making the Risotto:
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy deep saucepan. Add the shallots and stir constantly until they glisten.
- Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
- Add the rice and stir to coat the rice grains. Toss until the rice begins to become golden.
- Stand back from the pan and pour on the dry white wine, stirring to loosen everything from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat and simmer until the wine is almost absorbed, adding the thyme, black pepper and salt.
- Add the chicken broth a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently and adding more when the broth is almost absorbed by the rice.
- While the rice is simmering, heat another fry pan on the stove top. Add a dollop of butter and the sausage chunks, leaving them to sear and brown before flipping them.
- When the sausage is browned, add the apple chunks and soften them for a minute, lowering the heat to let them cook slowly.
- When the broth is almost completely absorbed by the rice, add the mascarpone cheese and Parmesan, stirring to melt and incorporate.
- Turn the peas into the sausage and apples and let the peas cook for a few minutes. They should be bright green and barely cooked … sweet and crunchy!
- Serve the rice in a bowl and top with the sausage, apple and pea mixture.
Risotto is such a nice way to warm up, don't you think? I plopped myself in front of the tree and the TV and nibbled away at this bowl of stuff and sipped on red wine... and then, I went to bed early, praying that I'd feel better. I'm such a Pollyanna - no such luck.
Today has been a forced march ... my traditional walk with the church walking group, errands that I should have blown off, but couldn't, and home to whimper and make a substantial dinner ( 'feed a cold...', right ?)
I intend to sleep in tomorrow and try to drink as much hot tea and other fluids, hoping that this cold will pass by the weekend. Lord knows when I'll finish Christmas shopping. Right now, I'm feeling like it wouldn't be a travesty to just let it go and concentrate on making a clean, warm home for the kids to come home to with a healthy Mom who is done with the carping.
Yeah. I'll get back to you on that one ... now, about that tree. Isn't it a beauty ? It was grown from root stock that SB put in the ground six years ago. We have to work on the trimming procedure, but overall, this is a great tree!