There are crossroads where two worlds come together. If you’re a food enthusiast, expert or “foodie”, then you probably know this as fusion in our world. Fusion cuisine is the delicious crossroads of two or more delicacies ranging from different cultures. Jollof Risotto is a path that takes one of the most loved Nigerian (West-African) dishes into the lane of Risotto, a classic Italian favourite. I believe in the power of simple meals and the magic they make. Risotto to its fans is the ultimate magic. While Jollof with its recent increase in culinary mileage creates a powerful hold on anyone that tries it.
Furthermore, upon this Jollof Risotto fusion expedition. Instead of simply crossing the paths of two main dishes, I invited both of their undisputed sides. Plantain is the unofficial side dish to Jollof rice and Braised veal a.k.a ‘Ossobuco’ which is the renowned pairing for the classic Milanese risotto. Might I also mention that risotto originates from the northern Italian region of Lombardy, of which the capital city is Milan? This dish really is a cultural journey for your palate.
Although my first experience with risotto in Milan wasn’t the best. Due to unmet high expectations at a dodgy restaurant as I explained here. Currently, risotto is one of my favourite Italian food to eat and to cook as well. Another great risotto recipe that is a perfect blend of Italian and Nigerian cuisine is my Banga “Palm fruit” Risotto: a Southern Nigerian fusion
Jollof Risotto with Ossobuco & Plantain
For the Ossobuco (Braised Veal) and Plantain:
For the Jollof sauce:
- 190 g red bell pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 4 plum tomatoes
- 1 thumb size ginger
- 1 garlic clove
- ⅓ cup sunflower oil
- 1 ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
For the Rissoto
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion (chopped)
- 1 small scotch bonnet pepper (chopped)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Chop the bell pepper, tomatoes, red onions, ginger and garlic. Place in a blender and blitz. Set aside for later
Cooking the Ossobuco and plantain
- Rub each piece of Ossobuco with your favourite steak spice mix, on both sides. Then coat with flour all over and set aside.
- Peel the skins off the plantains and cut vertically into halves. Cut to split each half horizontally. Now you have 4 flat-faced pieces.
- Make a slit from top to bottom of each piece, then chop into tiny bite sizes.
- Place in a pan with water and salt. Bring to a boil for 1 minute.
- Drain the plantains and soak off the excess liquid with a paper towel.
- Pour sunflower oil into a deep pot over medium-high heat. Pour in the plantains and fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove the plantains and set aside (preferably in a warm oven).
- Now place the seasoned and coated Ossobuco into the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes on both sides.
Cooking the Jollof sauce:
- Reduce the heat of the pot with oil to low and pour in the previously blended tomato mix
- Toss in the bay leaf, place a lid over and allow to simmer 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, take out the Ossobuco and set aside (also in a warm oven). Also, remove the pot from heat and set the sauce aside for later
Cooking the Risotto and bringing it all together
- Place a pan over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the chopped yellow onion and scotch bonnet peppers, then cook for 3-5 minutes, until softened.
- Add the rice and toss together until well-coated with the oil. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce until the pan is almost dry.
- Add 1 cup of vegetable stock to the rice. Stir the rice until the stock is absorbed and the pan is almost dry. Continue adding the stock, 1 cup at a time, until the rice softens but still feels firm. It should be creamy, but not runny.
- Stir in the Jollof sauce until it incorporates, then season with salt and smoked paprika. Stir together and remove the risotto from the heat.
- Dish the risotto in a plate with the stewed Ossobuco and plantains. Enjoy!