Monday, August 19, 2013

Freshly Blogged: Challenge 7

Click HERE to vote for this recipe.

I've made it to the top 20! The competition is getting harder and more challenging each week, and the other contestants are doing amazing things with the ingredients we get challenged with. 

For week 7 rice was the feature ingredient (along with butternut, leek, thyme and chopped tomatoes.) Rice seems like such a simple ingredient, but with a few twists (and a little bit of stuffing) it can be made into a fabulous dish. Here is my entry:

Calamari stuffed with Butternut, Leek & Feta Rice
Serves 4 as  
Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours

You will need
For the rice:
1/2 cup Spekko long grain rice
1.5 cups cold water
2 tsp salt

For the leeks:
1 ½ cups leeks, finely sliced
1 Tbls olive oil
½ Tbls butter

For the butternut:
150g butternut, diced into mini cubes
2 sprigs thyme
Olive oil

For the rice stuffing:
120g feta
1 jumbo egg
Salt and black pepper

For the tomato sauce:
1 can Pnp chopped tomatoes
1 Tbls sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable stock
Black pepper
4 sprigs thyme

For the Calamari:
400 – 500g Falklands Calamari tubes, cleaned
Olive oil

How to make it
For the rice:
Bring the rice, cold water and salt to the boil.
Reduce heat and simmer with the lid tilted for 15 – 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the water has evaporated.
Set aside and allow to cool.

For the leeks:
Melt the butter with the olive oil.
Fry the leeks on a low heat until soft.
Set aside.

For the butternut:
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.
In an ovenproof dish, combine the butternut and thyme.
Season with salt and drizzle with olive oil.
Cook the butternut until tender (about 15 minutes).
Remove the thyme and set aside.

For the rice stuffing:
Combine the rice, butternut, leeks, feta and egg.
Season well with salt and pepper.

For the tomato sauce:
Bring the chopped tomato, vegetable stock, thyme and sugar to the boil.
Simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes.
Remove thyme twigs.
Season well with salt and pepper.

For the Calamari:
Using a very small spoon (like an espresso teaspoon) stuff each tube with the rice mixture.
Secure the open end with a toothpick.
Heat a griddle pan to very hot.
Pre heat the oven to 100°C.
Brush the calamari tubes with olive oil.
In batches, grill the stuffed tubes (without moving them) until grill marks appear.
Keep the cooked tubes warm in the oven.

To plate:
Scoop some of the tomato sauce onto a plate and top with either sliced calamari tubes or whole tubes.
Garnish with fresh thyme and serve immediately.

TIP: If it’s too much trouble to stuff all the tubes, simple grill them and serve them won the tomato sauce with the rice on the side.

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