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Al's recipes

Al Czervik

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Here's a recipe from dinner tonight.  It is one of my daughter's favorite risotto recipes.  Recipes are hard for me, as I don't really use them.  Quantities are also hard for me, so they are approximate.

You could get away with any short grain rice.  I used to stock, sushi rice, bomba, and arborio.  But, after a conversation with GG years ago, I branched out and tried risotto with sushi rice.  Now, I just stock Kokuko Rose sushi rice in 15 pound bags.

This makes enough for 2-3 people.

1/2 cup rice

4 cups homemade chicken or duck stock

1 cup diced butternut or honey nut squash

1 good sized shallot, diced very fine

1/4 cup parmesan, grated

1/4-1/2 cup white wine, I used some leftover moscato (no, I don't drink moscato)

1 sprig thyme

3T chopped fresh sage

2T fat/oil of your choice (I used schmaltz)

pinch of chicken bullion or salt

2T butter


Heat stock to a simmer.  Add fat to a risotto pot or similar over medium heat.  Dump in squash and shallot and sweat for a few minutes, then tip in the rice and turn to coat.  Add wine, and stir.  As wine is absorbed, add small ladles of hot stock, the thyme and half the sage.  Stir and allow most liquid to be absorbed.  Repeat until rice is al dente, then add parm.  Use bullion or salt to correct seasoning, add the rest of the sage and butter.  Continue to stir and add stock to desired consistency.  Plate.

I topped this tonight with a confit chicken leg quarter and a pan jus with the goo from the confit process, butter, a dash of kitchen bouquet, and Al's special spiced vinegar with a side of charred Brussels sprouts.



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Mint Chutney 


1 bunch fresh cilantro. No stems. 

1 1/2 to 2 cups mint leaves. No stems. 

1 green chili pepper. Type depending on how hot you want it. I use mild Anaheim peppers. 

1/2 Teaspoon salt.

1-2 Tablespoons Tamarind or Lemon juice.

Blend in food processor.

Add water if needed.

Add olive oil if desired  





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Tonight's red chile sauce.


2 ancho chiles

4 guajillo chiles

4 NM chiles

2 cascabel chiles

granulated onion

granulated garlic

1 T freshly toasted cumin seed

Mexican oregano

Brown or palm sugar

1/4 C tomato paste

AP flour



Al's spiced up vinegar (distilled vinegar with chile pequin, allspice, garlic, thyme, and aji dulce)


Remove stems and all seeds from chiles. cut them into 1/4-1/2" chunks.  Toss them in blender or spice/coffee grinder with a couple T each of granulated onion, garlic, cumin, sugar, flour, and oregano.  Whizz it into a fine powder.  Heat a skillet over medium heat, add fat (I used about 1/4 cup of beef fat) toss in the blended ingredients, and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato paste, and stir, add stock (I used leftover jus from pressure cooking 8 pounds of beef cheeks) a bit at a time until it is desired consistency.  Add sriracha, sugar, and acid to taste.  Return to blender, whizz, and strain.

I used this for some enchiladas with queso quesadilla, poached chicken, queso fresco, and assorted toppings like pickled onions, sweet hot jalapeños, crema, black olives, watermelon radish, avocado, shredded lettuce, etc.

In a couple of days, I will slather some butterflied bottom fish in the leftover sauce and avocado oil, and grill them over a wood fire with either some cilantro lime rice or carmelized plantains, and some rainbow chard or collard greens that I still haven't picked from the garden.



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