• Spanakorizo (Greek rice, wild greens and sweet onions) (The Chefs' Line)

Spanakorizo is a common dish on the island of Crete, utilising many different wild and cultivated greens. This recipe offers a different take on the classic dish while still honouring the timeless history of Greek cuisine. The Chefs' Line 

Serves
4

Preparation

30min

Cooking

1hr

Skill level

Mid
By
Average: 5 (1 vote)
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The recipe has been written with accessibility of ingredients in mind, but for those feeling more adventurous or have someone in the know utilise foraged or even home-grown greens in your puree. Please remember never pick anything you’re not certain of.

Ingredients

  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion, finely sliced
  • 300 g Arborio rice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 20 g butter, made from goat’s milk if possible
  • Mizithra or salted ricotta, finely grated, to serve
  • Picked wild fennel fronds, baby cress and rocket, to serve

Vegetable stock 

  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bulbs fennel, finely sliced
  • 1 white onion, finely sliced
  • ½ bunch celery, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, finely sliced
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 leeks, finely sliced
  • 1 cup chervil sprigs
  • 1 cup dill sprigs

Sweet onions

  • 100 g sugar
  • 100 g white wine vinegar
  • 100 g pickling onions, peeled and sliced 2 cm-thick

Wild greens puree

  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion, finely sliced
  • 3 cups English spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup watercress, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup rocket, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

For the vegetable stock, heat the olive oil in a large wide saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent but not coloured. Add 1 litre water, bring to the boil, then simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the chervil and dill and stand for 5 minutes before straining. Discard the solids and return the stock to the pan.

Meanwhile, for the sweet onions, place the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. When the sugar has dissolved, add sliced pickling onions and remove from the heat. Allow to sit in the pickle until needed.

For the wild greens puree, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Add a small amount of water to the pan to help cook the onions if they are starting to colour. Once the onions have softened, increase the heat to high and add the greens, one cup at a time and allowing to wilt before adding another. It’s important to do this quickly as the longer the greens cook, the darker the puree will be and the less vibrant the flavour. Once all the greens are cooked, transfer to a blender and process on high for 3-4 minutes or until a smooth puree forms.

For the risotto, bring the stock to a gentle simmer over low heat. Heat the oil in a shallow saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and fry gently for 10 minutes or until softened but not coloured. Increase the heat to medium, add the rice and stir continuously until the rice is slightly translucent. Add a ladle of stock and a good pinch of salt. Reduce the heat down to low so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly. Keep adding ladlesful of stock, stirring the rice and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. It’s very important to taste the rice at this point; the grains should be soft and creamy on the outside with a small amount of bite in the middle. Also check for seasoning at this time. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Just before serving, stir the wild green puree into the risotto, then add the butter and stir until well combined and creamy.

To serve, divide the spanakorizo between bowls. Scatter with finely grated cheese and drained pickled onions rings, a sprinkling of herbs and a good drizzle of olive oil.

Note:

• Although all the ingredients listed are available in the supermarket, have a look in your local Greek deli for the Greek version of Arborio rice, extra virgin olive oil and goats butter to really give your Spanakorizo the Greek edge.

 

This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood  and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!