With research recently suggesting that we should all be eating seven plus portions of fruit and veg, I’ll be spending a bit more quality time with my face in a hedgerow. What better way than to get more nutrition into your diet than by foraging for it locally? Air miles are a joke, packaging is a re-used plastic bag and if you pick above the level of a dog’s cocked leg, then it is very likely to be chemical free too. What’s not to like? Oh, and it’s free. No Money. None.
- leftover white wine (about a third of a bottle)
- chicken stock cube
- 200g Arborio rice
- 100g pearl barley
- 2 – 3 handfuls of wild garlic (washed)
- 3 – 4 handfuls of nettle tips (the top 2 – 4 leaves – washed)
- 75g grated Parmesan (Grana Padano is a cheaper option)
- black pepper
- a couple of shallots
- 2 nobs of butter
- a slug of rapeseed oil
- 2 dessertspoons crème fraiche
- 50g toasted pumpkin seeds
Melt 25g of the butter in a large frying pan with the slug of oil and add the chopped shallot. Cook until the shallots are transparent and stir in the (washed) rice and pearly barley until coated with the fat. Fill up the kettle and boil it. Start to add in the white wine to cover the rice, wait for it to evaporate and repeat. Crumble on a chicken stock cube and do the same with the boiled kettle water. Stir continuously and continue adding liquid until the rice is tender. Scatter the washed nettle leaves on top of the rice and cover with a lid to allow the leaves to steam. Turn the heat down a little. After a few minutes, mix the softened leaves into the rice then stir through the chopped wild garlic leaves (chop like cabbage into 0.5cm strips). Add a few gratings of black pepper, the other nob of butter and spoon in 2 dessertspoons of crème fraiche. Stir and serve with lightly toasted pumpkin seeds and freshly grated parmesan.
Related recipes: nettle soup and nettle risotto.