Based on the fact that failure to cook decent risotto seems to be one of the most common reasons of elimination of the competitors from TV shows such as Master Chef, Top Chef, and Hell’s Kitchen, the idea of making risotto in camping conditions, from dehydrated ingredients, with a Mini Trangia stove, must be doomed from the beginning.
So, of course I had to try it.
To my pleasant surprise, the risotto in the wilderness was a success. I could not notice the difference to the home cooked (from fresh ingredients) risotto, either in the taste or in the texture.
Some one could of course now say that I’m obviously a damn horrible home cook who only repeats his unfortunate cookings outdoors, but at least this time I have to disagree with that, the risotto was as creamy as it should be, and the taste was excellent.
Well then, how was it done?
Knowing that the perfect risotto requires a perfect ratio between the rice and the liquid, in this case the beef broth, I carefully measured all of the ingredients at home using the same 1.5 dl (5 oz) coffee cup I was about to use out in the field.
To extract every last bit of flavor from my dehydrated ingredients, I used the rehydrating water as a part of the beef broth.
The secret behind the creaminess of the real risotto is to slowly absorb the broth into the rice by adding small portions of the hot broth onto the rice, letting the real risotto rice, in this case the Arborio rice, release the starch into the broth.
The broth should be boiling hot. Therefore, if you don’t have two burners or nearby open fire, this dish is limited to relatively warm weather (say, above 10 C or 50 F).
The rest of the story is pretty straight forward, stir, add broth, repeat. When all of the broth has been absorbed, add half a teaspoon of black pepper, about 40 g (1 oz) of grated parmesan cheese, mix and enjoy.
If you happen to be camping in an area where you can find some wild chives, garnish the dish with it.
And, as I said in the video, if you wish to impress your significant other, or make Gordon Ramsay jealous, replace some of the water with dry white wine.
1.5 dl (5 oz) Risotto Rice (Arborio rice. Liquid to rice ratio may vary with other rice variants.)
1 small onion (dehydrated)
Mushrooms (dehydrated) 100g (3 oz) fresh weight
30 ml (1 oz) Olive oil
40 g (+1 oz) Grated parmesan
½ teaspoon Black pepper
1 Beef bouillon cube
Some Chopped wild chives
3 X volume of rice Water
Rehydrate mushrooms and onions for 15 to 30 minutes.
Prepare broth from rehydrating water, plain water, and a beef bouillon cube (total vol. 450 ml (5 oz)).
Pour the oil and the rice into the pot, and stir for few minutes.
Add mushrooms and onions.
Add some hot broth.
Stir, add broth, repeat till all of the broth is absorbed into the rice.
Season with black pepper.
Garnish with chives.