Its nearly the end of June, it’s raining, its foggy and we all have colds. All in all its a grumpy house this week. Will is frustrated if we stay in all day but gets too tired and overwhelmed if we are out for too long, which is making it hard to know what to do with him! This morning we went to a soft play centre which he enjoyed for about half a hour before turning back into to a little cuddly, grizzly boy. I’m not complaining though, having a cold is horrid and he is never normally cuddly so in some ways it’s nice (for me). His body is obviously fighting hard to get him better as he is also napping a lot! He has currently been asleep for over an hour which is unheard of in the afternoon for him!
As I wrote that previous sentence he woke up, when will I ever learn!? DON’T MENTION GOOD NAPS!
Anyway, my point was that both the weather and everyone being under the weather, meant comfort food was definitely in order for supper! Comfort food for me is bowl food – the kind of thing you can eat with just a fork. Risotto is perfect comfort food, and this salmon and leek version manages to feel both warm and cosy, as well as light and summery. It’s not hard to make either, but as with all risotto it does take some serene stirring.
To make it baby friendly there are a few
sacrifices compromises. They aren’t actually sacrifices, as it’s delicious and full-flavoured without them. There is no white wine added, although the lightness of the salmon and leek come through more as a result. It really isn’t missed in this particular recipe. There is also a lack of salt so it can feel under seasoned, but I have a trick for this which will become clear in the recipe method!
This is enough for 2 adults and 1 baby portion.
- 1 salmon fillet, deskinned
- 75g smoked salmon
- 200g arborio rice
- 1 leek
- Low salt vegetable stock cube
- 3 tablespoons of peas
- Small bunch of dill
- Zest of 1 lemon
- knob of unsalted butter
- Finely slice the leek, leaving the top 2 inches of green leek for later
- De-skin and chop the fresh salmon fillet
- Add leek to a large sauté pan with half of the butter and soften (don’t let them colour)
- Add the rice to the leeks and stir to coat in the butter
- Add the stock cube to a saucepan of hot water and bring to simmer (roughly a litre of water should be fine but if you run out just add more water to your saucepan)
- Add a couple of ladles of the stock, the fresh salmon and stir
- Keep adding more stock as the rice absorbs whats in the pan, stirring periodically to prevent it sticking. I like to use a wooden fork for stirring as it prevents the rice from breaking down.
- When the rice is soft but still too hard to eat (after roughly 15 minutes) add the peas and the lemon zest
- Finely chop the dill
- Slice the smoked salmon into thin strips
- Finely slice lengths of the green leek top
- Once the rice is cooked and the liquid absorbed (20-30 minutes), turn the heat off, add the remaining butter, the dill and roughly two thirds of the smoked salmon, and stir to combine.
- Remove the baby portion
- For the adult portions, I add the rest of the smoked salmon on top, with some of the green leek and a generous crack of black pepper.
Adding the rest of the smoked salmon to the adult portions ensures that the baby portion isn’t too salty, and the adult portions’ become adequately seasoned. I like to add the raw leek as it provides a fresh taste as well as a contrasting texture from the smooth creaminess of the risotto.
Risotto is excellent baby food as it is so versatile: you can feed it in a variety of ways. For baby led weaning you could simply squash the peas and pop this, once cooled a little on a plate/highchair tray (messy but effective). You can also wait for the risotto to cool, mash the peas and roll it into balls the size of a walnut. These can be coated in parmesan and bread crumbs and lightly fried to create finger food. Finally you can pop it all in a blender and puree to you required consistency. This is what I have done today as when Will isn’t well he prefers to be fed by me.
What are your favourite comfort foods? I’d love to know!