We interrupt our normally scheduled healthy low calorie recipe line up to bring you this sinfully calorific creamy and child-friendly recipe. Sausages. Corn. Salty soft rice. What's not to love?
If you look in the "child-friendly" category of this site, you will unfortunately find very few recipes. This is for a few reasons. Firstly, I believe that in an ideal world, children should gradually come to eat the same as their parents. With the exception of things that are potentially dangerous for young children (raw eggs and seafood for example) I like to think that most of our recipes can either be served to children as they are written or toned down a bit, in the case of very spicy dishes. Secondly, my children do not actually live up to this theory yet. I'm working on it. But many of the things I make for them fall into simple categories like "scrambled eggs with vegetables" or "pasta with vegetables and cheese". The Critic tends to get home far too late to make a family dinner feasible during the week, so too often I cater to the boys with simple food.
This dish, however, bridges the gap between "kid food" and "adult food". The boys (after the usual token "I don't like rice!" opening volley in the food battle) settled down and enthusiastically ate a big bowl each. In terms of healthiness, it's not too bad. Sausages, of course, are full of salt and fat. But sweet corn is in season and absolutely loved by children. With cheese and rice, you have your four basic food groups in a bowl. And it's so tasty that you'll find yourself, like me, sneaking bites out of their bowls while they are absorbed in watching Beauty and the Beast on the laptop. (Yes, we rely on the dinner time cinema at the end of a long and tiring week. All the play dates we planned for the summer holidays have seem to have been crammed into the last week before school starts. It's hard work being a highly social two or four year old around here!)
Sausage and Sweet Corn Risotto (serves two hungry pre-schoolers)
Whenever we have a barbecue, I grill up whatever sausages are left over at the end and either freeze or refrigerate them. Frozen, they can be defrosted and used in stuffing. From the fridge, they can be chopped and mixed into pasta, scrambled eggs or this dish. I've thrown away far too many raw sausages in my day because they sat in the fridge past their sell-by date. Now I cook them up right away!
1 heaping tablespoon butter
1 small leek, chopped fine
3/4 cup risotto rice
1 ear of corn
1 1/2 cooked sausages
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup (or more) freshly grated Parmesan
Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed frying pan. When it is bubbling and frothy, add the chopped leek and cook for a few minutes until soft. Watch the leek like a hawk as it can go from not-quite-soft to brown-and-crispy-and-bitter in a heartbeat. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes until all the grains are nicely coated with butter. Add half the broth and stir. Yes, I know that for an authentic risotto you are meant to add the broth gradually. However, this is not particularly authentic, and you'll want a good amount of liquid to cook the next ingredient: the corn. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels of corn from the cob. Don't worry too much about getting right next to the cob, just roughly cut off the bulk of the kernels. Add them to the rice and stir. Then hold the cob over the frying pan and gently scrape the cob with the sharp edge of the knife to release the remaining milky insides of the kernels. Cut the sausages into 1/2 cm cubes and add them to the mix. Stir. Add a little broth if it seems to be getting dry. Continue stirring occasionally and adding broth as needed until the rice is plump and soft. Again, an authentic risotto will have a bit of bite to it but I find that my boys are extremely lazy and don't like to chew one bit more than necessary. I cook the rice until it's nice and soft, about 45 minutes from first adding the broth. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan to taste. You shouldn't need salt, as the cheese and sausage will have plenty. You might want a bit of sharp pepper, especially if you are cooking for adults and not children. Though some children like pepper: my youngest is a fan of salt and cracked pepper crisps. I make a lot of risotto for the boys, but this combination is by far the tastiest. There is something about the texture and taste of corn and sausage together with rice that just feels wonderful. And my boys will agree!