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
This blog is free to those who need it, and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it, and would like to keep it going, please consider popping something in the tip jar, and thankyou.