Dessert, Easy, Sweet

With My Hands / Horchata (Mexican Chocolate Risotto)

I’ve taken this delicious recipe from The Family Meal and played with it. Why? Because I can’t help myself. Because last night was a time that needed reflection and being exactly where my hands were for an extended period of time. I can’t change my mind half way through this recipe and flit back into the fast pace of life, especially since it involves the excellent combination of chocolate and chilli.

I remember being taught to make risotto by women in the small Italian village we spent our summers as children, while my mother restored books from an ancient library in the local town. I remember rolling hills and long lunches. Lazy afternoons at the black-sanded fresh water lake with hordes of squabbling, squealing children.

The old ladies teaching me would watch with careful eyes as I stirred, and stirred, and stirred. At the time it seemed so tiresome, all that stirring, the only thing that kept me going was proudly staggering into the garden carrying both food and high expectations of heady praise. Now I have a child of my own, the time it takes is a stolen joy, long moments of peace in a life increasingly filled.

This isn’t a dish for the faint hearted. Time and attention are required. More, it is about as rich a dish as can be eaten. Save it for long winter nights, or those times when you need the greatest comfort.

  • 4 cups full cream milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 75g dark chocolate (I used organic with 85% cocoa) broken into small pieces 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Pour the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick and salt into a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Turn off the heat and leave, with a lid on, until cool.

Drain into a bowl, discard the cinnamon stick and return the infused milk to the stove, heat over a medium heat until starting to boil.

Add the rice and stir constantly over a low heat until the rice is tender, this will take anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes.

Stir in the vanilla, chocolate and cayenne. 

Eat in small portions until comfort is achieved…

This will happily keep covered in the fridge for a few days.


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