Monday, June 3, 2013

Culinary Disaster: Nettle and Lamb's Quarter Risotto

I'm a fairly experienced cook, and I often create my own recipes.  Doing this with a newborn is a novel challenge, however.  Two weekends ago, I awoke with recipe dreams:  Japanese knotweed pie, dandelion black walnut muffins, wild greens soup (it was 45 degrees outside!), and nettle and lamb's quarter risotto.  Our garden, untended by my very pregnant and then newborn filled self, became a lamb's quarter field this spring.  This edible is so delicious, nutritious, and versatile, that we are utterly delighted to find ourselves flush with it.

 So I sent Yub Yub and Thag out to gather lamb's quarters and nettles and then I went to my risotto cookbook to look up recipes to shape my new recipe around.  I like to use tried and true recipes to give me ideas of quantities and cooking times.  This often works out quite nicely for me.  Not so this time. 

I made two major mistakes which are easily avoided.  I did not chop my nettles before adding them to the risotto.  This left huge clumps of greens that felt like sea weed in my mouth and needed to be chewed copiously to avoid choking!  Then, I added the greens too early.  The risotto rice was not yet fully cooked and needed a lot more liquid.  This meant my greens were overcooked and their flavor permeated the meal unpleasantly. What should have been a lovely nettle accented flavor became a heady, perfumy, overpowering nettle flavor. 

I had trouble finishing my plate.  Thag, whose palate is sturdier, valiantly finished the meal and ate leftovers during the week.
Here's a picture of my goopy mess.  I'll try another risotto soon and keep you updated.


  1. i know how hard it is to do/be all...and kudos for trying! i personally love it when bloggers post their fails almost as much as i love the successes.
    You are still doing waaaay better than i when newly un-pregnant

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback. As it is, this newly un-pregnant mom never got back to this recipe.