Brie and bacon risotto, 26p


While testing recipes for my book this week, it was inevitable that I would start to put leftover ingredients together to come up with accidental dishes. This speedy and satisfying late lunch was born of some scraps of cooking bacon left over from Spring Piggy, and some sad looking Brie from the Courgette and Brie gratin.

I have been criticised in the past by online commenters for using ‘posh cheese’ on a limited budget, but at £1.09 for 200g, a rich flavour, and creamy versatility, I find a hunk of Brie far more satisfying for my stomach and my wallet than plain old cheddar any day. Besides – I can’t get £1.09 of cheddar from my local supermarket anyway…

(Serves 2 at 26p/portion. Prices Sainsburys Basics, July 2013)

100g cooking bacon, 16p (£1.09/670g)
1/2 an onion, red or white, 6p (11p each approx)
40g Brie, 22p (£1.09/200g)
140g rice, 6p (40p/1kg)
1 chicken stock cube, 2p (15p for 10)
500ml boiling water
Fistful of parsley , free (grows in the garden)

Optional: cranberry sauce to serve


Chop the cooking bacon into small pieces – 1cm approx. Place into a colander and rinse under cold water for five minutes to remove some of the salty taste.

Put into a shallow frying or sauté pan. Peel and finely chop the onion, and add to the pan with the bacon. Bring to a low heat. No additional fat is required: the fat will ‘leak’ from the bacon as it heats slowly, so make the most of it!

Soften the onions in the bacon fat. When they are almost translucent, add the rice and stir in well to toast the edges.

Make up 500ml of chicken stock. When the ends of the grains of rice have started to turn clear, add half of the stock and stir in. Keep adding the stock gradually as it is absorbed by the rice. (You may find that you do not need all of it – a good risotto should have a soupy texture, but be slightly al dente).

Just before serving, chop the Brie and stir through until it is mostly melted, and scatter chopped parsley through to lift the flavour.

Enjoy! If you have any apple or cranberry sauce kicking around in the cupboard, a teaspoon on top would be divine.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MxJackMonroe


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  1. Wow fantastic we are having this tomorrow as I have all the ingrediants in thank you Jack

  2. Risotto…my favourite (+versatile) comfort food. This recipe sounds superb Jack, thanks.
    How is that lad’s arm doing?

  3. What a great recipe. I love Brie too, and you are right, it can be quite good value. You are very creative, it is such a pleasure to find such great things made cheaply and simply.

  4. Sounds great, but what is cooking bacon? I think it is closest to what we call Canadian bacon in the US. I am waiting for all your apricot recipes! Ann

    • I am another one waiting for more of jacks apricot recipes. The curry was so nice, and we normally eat the leftover apricots as a snack, but it’d be nice to get other recipes with apricots in 🙂

  5. i find the value range of brie really nice, in fact could hardly tell the difference from the more expensive one. so quids in. another fave in our house is bacon brie and cranberry rolls.. myself, i am vegetarian, so jack please come up with some nice different veggie recipes,although i find it is usually cheaper to eat as aveggie anyway and i have tried some of your recipes, chili and black bean soup was nice.

  6. Looks delicious, as a veggie I would simply leave out the bacon and maybe add I sprinkle of Parmesan style cheese at the end.

    A luxury meal at a bottom end budget.

    I hope the book is going well I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Are you going to be using all your own photos of the food cooked in it? They are more than good enough, and I love that your crockery matches the dishes you make and to suddenly put all the dishes onto ‘posh’ china (no offence meant to your plates and dishes) would be insane 🙂

    • I love my assorted charity shop plates. I was going to blog them and where they were from – The habit of collecting them well predates my current austere state, although I lost many of them in the Big Open House Sale! Finding a pretty bowl for 20 pence is always a delight 🙂 This one is a J&G Meakin bowl, and was 20p from a Fair Havens shop in Shoeburyness. There’s a few matching side plates too 🙂

  7. Just made this – delicious! We only had 2 rashers of bacon and no parsley, so I started it off with some garlic, added some vermouth I found lurking in the fridge and upped the brie. Was excellent, thanks.

  8. Just had this, but substituted the bacon with chorizo..oh my..I am in heaven! Thanks Jack (oh, and the value brie is lovely too).

  9. This is one of best meals have made in ages.All ingredients from Aldi, top notch quality, end project divine. Thankyou Jack!

  10. One of our favourites is a simple mushroom risotto. For 2 people: 2 onion2, mushrooms to taste (I never know how much I use), 150g of Arborio rice, chicken stock cube, grated parmesan (have used Cheddar). The magic ingredient is a teaspoon of grated 100% chocolate. Never priced it, but it can’t cost much.

  11. Just made your risotto Jack. Absolutely delicious. Thank-you. Like you, I’m an avid ‘collector’ of charity shop plates – always thought matching was over-rated.

  12. I have just made this and it was delicious, I had some spinach in the fridge added that at the end and lots of black pepper definitely a recipe to repeat.tomorrow for lunch I shall reheat add some frozen peas and fry up by adding an egg “bacon risotto fried rice” thanks Jack xx

  13. hi, iceland do veggie chedder etc in a packet for 1.00 for 170gms also dry smoked bacon and unsmoked also at a 1.00 I have found them a Godsend at times.

  14. I CANNOT cook to save my life but I made this today and I honestly think it was the best thing I have ever cooked! So easy to make! Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes! Thank youuuuu

  15. Giving this a go tonight – looks amazing! Tempted to add a few frozen peas from the freezer for sweetness? Thank you!

  16. Mmmmm, lovely!! I’m currently addicted to brie, bacon and cranberry sandwiches every Saturday and so this is great and doesn’t cost me any extra. Just had two bowls fulls, very moreish! I think it might also pass muster with the kids, especially with the cranberry sauce. It actually tastes very similar to a welsh recipe which everyone here in North Wales has a version of called “Tatws pump munud” (literally translated as “potatoes five mintues” although it always takes more like 20!). Its basically a broth made from streaky or cooking bacon, thinly sliced potatoes, pearl barley, onion and beef or chicken stock all cooked in a big pan until the potatoes are soft. Cheap, warming and delicious!

  17. Just made this for dinner tonight, absolutely delish! I added a good hit of garlic and a splash of white wine I had leftover… I also used slightly more brie than the recipe, gorgeous! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  18. Going to do this tonight, but with gorgonzola instead and adding some mushrooms. Gorgenzola was reduced when I purchased so dead cheap… Trying to survive not spending money at all this week until next payday.. 🙁 being in a minus balance is no good when you got a small son to feed.

    Thank you Jack for your amazing dishes and ideas. x

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