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Soubise

Soubise is a kind of French risotto made with long grain rice instead of Italian, short rounded rice. Unlike risotto, it is not stirred during cooking but left to absorb the wine and stock as it gently simmers. I've added the fennel to the onion for an even sweeter, more delicate flavour and, if you wish, add sautéed mushrooms or spinach towards the end of the cooking time.

Serves 4-6

60g/ 21⁄2oz butter or marganne
600g/1lb 4oz onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
1 bulb fennel, chopped into 1cm/1⁄2 in dice
500g/1lb Basmati rice
150ml/6fl oz dry white wine
350ml/12fl oz hot water or light vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
75g/3oz fresh vegetarian parmesan cheese
50ml/2fl oz double cream
125g/5oz fresh white breadcrumbs
1 bunch fresh chives, snipped very small
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a pan and cook the onion and garlic gently, with the lid on, for about 30 mintites, adding the fennel about half way through, until tender but not browned.
Add the rice and stir for 10 minutes.
Pour in the wine and hot stock together with salt and the bay leaf.
Bring to a simmer, stir and then cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice tender.
Remove the bay leaf and stir in the vegetarian parmesan and double cream.
Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6. Lightly butter an ovenproof dish and fill with the rice mixture.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs mixed with the chives over the rice and bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes until the breadcrumbs are a pale golden colour.
Serve with a green salad and steamed broccoli tossed in olive oil and grain mustard.
You could also serve it straight from the pan, simply garnished with fresh herbs, rather than bake it with breadcrumbs but this does give it a homely feel which makes it perfect for family meals.

Source: The New Cranks Recipe Book

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