whatever happened to Sunday lunch?

J was over this weekend, and said he’d make me dinner on Saturday. (he doesn’t get to do much home cooking anymore). On the menu: bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, garlic & parsley risotto, sautéed mushrooms.

The recipe for the pork can be found here , at least that’s the recipe i think J used. The mushrooms were sautéed in a lot of butter and white wine for a long time (i don’t know the recipe – it’s one of J’s standbys from working at a steakhouse eons ago).

while j was preoccupied with the pig, i started the risotto. It seems pretty stupid to be posting a recipe for risotto, right? I mean, once you’ve “gotten” your risotto technique down, it’s all good from there. but i’m writing this up because it’s possibly the best damn risotto recipe i’ve come across – not dry, yet not too cheesy (too much cheese makes it thicken up just a hair too much, and i’m not down with wallpaper paste texture. This isn’t poi). And it’s also fairly simple, at least as ingredients go.

Ha – i’m talking as if i’m a pro at making these things, where in fact my first attempt at risotto was not all that long ago.

The recipe comes from good ol’ Gordon Ramsay, from a book i had to special order off of amazon.uk because it hasn’t been released here in the US, and i don’t know if it ever will. I’m all about Sunday Lunch; after all it is very French too. but in the US, Sunday is for football and NASCAR and running errands. We have that luxury. Sundays in Europe are quiet and completely mellow – that is their luxury. All stores are closed, except for the occasional bakery open just for an hour after church service lets out, enough time for a queue of well-dressed folks to form outside. A typical Sunday in our house here in Georgia consists of sleeping in, then watching some form of athletic feat on TV; and the food early in the day is chicken wings. Dinner is usually a fend-for-yourself kind of thing (leftovers), and sometimes I get totally preoccupied with my dabblings in the oddity that the boy isn’t remotely interested in (namely: tofu).

But seriously, Ramsay has a point. I don't know anyone in the US who has a good old-fashioned Sunday lunch anymore. Maybe Americans need to slow down and start enjoying it?

Okay so – here’s the recipe from Ramsay, and my modifications are in italics. I’m kind of guessing here, because it’s still pretty early and my coffee hasn’t lifted the fog yet – please don’t ask me to do perfect mathematical conversions from metric yet. This was all one big guesstimate.

And by the way, WHY hasn’t the US switched over to metric yet? It makes total and complete sense. Any pea brain can figure it out, whereas i’m still struggling with how many yards are in a mile, how many feet are in a yard. Seriously, i have to look that up every time.

Wild Garlic & Parsley Risotto

(i’d never heard of wild garlic, so i just used regular garlic. I have an image in my head of garlic growing tall and wild along English country roads. How very romantic of me, but you know)

1.3 litres of chicken stock (i used about 6 cups of chicken stock)
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
3 to 4 wild garlic cloves, sliced
4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped (i used three, because they were so huge)
350 g of risotto rice (i used one cup arborio)
salt, pepper
few knobs of butter
100 g parmesan, freshly grated, plus shavings to serve (i used about a half cup grated. And please, people, NOT the shit in the green can. Go get yourself a block of parmesan and grate it yourself)
handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped

Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan and keep it at a simmer over low heat. (I added the parsley stalks to this, as Ramsay suggests in a note)

Heat the olive oil in a larger pan (medium heat) and add the garlic followed by shallots. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the shallots have softened. Stir in the rice and cook for a couple of minutes until the rice grains appear translucent, stirring frequently. (i added the garlic after the shallots, because i didn’t want them to burn and ruin the flavor of the dish as i’ve so often done before)

A ladleful at a time, add the hot stock to the rice and cook, stirring, until almost all the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladleful. When you have added most of the stock (you may not need all of it), season and taste the rice. It should be al dente, cooked but with a bite in the centre. Take the pan off the heat. (This will take you anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes. this is one of those situations where you do not walk away. No chitchat on the phone. No potty or ciggy breaks. Stand there, sweating your ass off, and stir the damn thing until it’s cooked).

Stir the butter into the risotto, followed by the grated parmesan and chopped parsley. Ad a splash more stock to keep the rice moist and creamy if you like. Serve at once, scattered with parmesan shavings and topped with a drizzle of olive oil.


My parents have Sunday lunch almost every week. We grew up doing it. A lot of AMERICANS still do have slow lazy family Sundays. That's just not happening on OUR street! :)

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