Yuletide favourites: Morning-After Turkey Risotto


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By Debbie Yong

The Business Times

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013

  • Great gift of life

    Ivan Brehm
    Head chef of Bacchanalia on Coleman Street

    "Christmas in Brazil was always a big family affair. Food was at the centre of my family's life and the dining table was the stage for conversations that coloured and shaped my childhood. For Christmas lunch, my grandmother used to make amazing dishes with leftover roast turkey meat. I loved the pasta salads and baked rice dishes with peas, grated cheese and leftover turkey. To me, these dishes were more delicious than the actual roast turkey that we would have for dinner on Christmas Eve, and provided inspiration for my own version of Turkey Risotto that I now serve at Bacchanalia.

    "We observed the Advent calendar tradition and all the rituals associated with Christmas but as a child, I learnt quite early on that Santa - at least, the Coca Cola depiction of him - wasn't real. Christmas is a great occasion for me to spend with my wife and to celebrate the great gift of life and the strong relationships one forms over the years.

    "I will probably spend my first Christmas Eve in Singapore working in the restaurant, but on Christmas Day, we plan to celebrate by having a small barbecue lunch with my wife Maga, my sous chef Mark and executive pastry chef Kostas."


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  • (serves 6 to 10)
  • 700g simmering chicken stock
  • One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 250g carnaroli rice
  • 50g diced shallots
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • 400g shredded Roast Turkey Meat
  • Chopped pulp of 12 to 15 soaked and cooked buah keluak nuts (soak it for at least three days in several changes of water and boil for one hour)
  • 100g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 60-80g parmesan, grated
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cranberries or cranberry jam for garnish (cassis or black currant are good alternatives)
  • 30g currants (soaked in your choice of bourbon)
  • 1. In a medium hot pan, sweat the rice in olive oil until fragrant (be careful not to colour the rice). Add the garlic and shallots and sweat them until translucent.
  • 2. Add a quarter of your simmering chicken stock, making sure the mixture returns to a low simmer. Stir occasionally and carefully, incorporating the next quarter of stock once first batch has evaporated. Repeat until most of the stock is used. Check rice for doneness before adding the final quarter of stock.
  • 3. Add the turkey meat, buah keluak pulp and remaining stock depending on rice doneness. Reduce till desired consistency is reached. Good risotto should not be stodgy or stiff, but creamy, smooth and silky. The consistency should be almost that of rice surrounded by its own sauce, so make sure to control how much stock you evaporate.
  • 4. Fold in butter and parmesan cheese. Season to taste and serve straight away garnished with the fresh cranberries and currants.