I've seen it! The first soldiers of spring are popping up everywhere - snowdrops, daffodils, tulips! I've watched robins pluck worms from the ground and splash around in rainy day puddles. It is finally in the 50's and not 30 or below. Spring is finally here and I'm making a very obscene gesture to Winter as it exits!
Today was a rainy April day... not terribly cool, but a bit raw. It's that time of the year where I still want something a bit comforting, but I crave fresh flavors and vibrant colors. Luckily, the first spring veggies will begin arriving within the next few weeks and they are some of my favorites - leeks, ramps, peas, fiddleheads, asparagus. All so green, fresh and yummy!
This month's Bon Appetit had an article featuring many of those spring veggies. One recipe in particular caught my eye - a bacon and leek risotto with poached eggs. Umm, hello?! That might be one of the best flavor combinations ever. And you know how I feel about runny egg yolks. The idea of creamy rice with the oniony leeks mixed with some crispy bits of bacon all topped with a delicious, runny egg yolk was too much for me to handle. I had to make it ASAP.
Oh, and it was gooood. It's like breakfast and dinner and everything in between. And that egg... oh, that egg. It's like a big, bright, happy sun in the middle of your plate making all kinds of saucy goodness. Give it a go, I think it will make you smile on a rainy day too.
Bacon and Leek Risotto with Poached Eggs
(from Bon Appetit)
Makes 6 Servings
6 large eggs
5 cups low-sodium chicken stock (homemade is best!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 sliced thick-cut bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only), rinsed and dried
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp finely grated parmesan , plus more for garnish
1. To poach the eggs: Bring a large skillet of water to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. Lightly salt the water. Crack one egg at a time into a small bowl and gently slide each egg into the simmering water. Cook the eggs until the whites are cooked through, but the yolks are still runny, 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the cooked eggs to a bowl filled with ice water. (Eggs can be made 1 day in advance - cover and refrigerate in the bowl of ice water)
2. Heat your broth in a medium saucepan and cover to keep warm. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the bacon and cook until it is crispy, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to drain on paper towels.
3. Add the leeks to the pan with the bacon drippings and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cooked leeks for garnish and set aside. Add the rice to the pan and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until fully absorbed, another 1-2 minutes. Begin adding 1/2 cup of warm broth at a time to the rice, stirring until the broth is fully absorbed before adding more. Continue adding broth and stirring until rice is tender with a slight bite and the sauce is creamy, 20-25 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, add the bacon, butter, chopped parsley and cheese. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
4. While the rice is cooking, heat a medium skillet full of water to a simmer to reheat your poached eggs. When the rice is done, gently scoop the eggs from the bowl and place them into the pan of simmering water. Heat for 1-2 minutes, just enough to warm them through.
5. Divide risotto among 6 bowls. Using a slotted spoon to drain the excess water, top each bowl of risotto with a poached egg. Sprinkle the eggs with a bit of salt and pepper, parsley leaves, cheese and reserved leeks. Serve immediately and enjoy!