Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cheesy Mexican Risotto with Green Chiles

So the lovely people at Chicago Soy Dairy sent me some "Teese" vegan soy cheese to experiment with and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

First, I'm not a fan of vegan cheese products. Second, I am not a big fan of packaged and processed items unless I find I REALLY love them, or find they are possibly a bit necessary (like margarine or coconut milk) And third, I thought I had tried Teese some time ago and put it on the reject list in my brain.

Well, I'm glad to report I was wrong on all accounts. The Chicago Soy Dairy people actually make a fairly good vegan cheese product, (one I apparently had NOT tried before, because I really didn't recognize the little tube-like packages that came in the mail).

Well, I'm not exactly sure where my mind was, because I opted for the "Nacho Cheese Sauce" product, something I wouldn't have eaten even back in my "real" cheese days. What to do, what to do? I called upon the creative brain-power and vegan cooking skills of my friend Shaun, and we put our heads together and came up with a lovely (and very UN-Nacho-like) Risotto. I am now SO glad I chose this variety!

Yes, I realize risotto isn't typically "Mexican" but vegan risotto is a specialty of Shaun's, and we had a plethora of "Mexican" type ingredients to complement the "Nacho Cheese" - so away we went. The end result was creamy, flavorful and had me creeping back to the 'fridge in the middle of the night to scarf down the leftovers. Perfect with grilled portabellos and roasted asparagus, prepare to be amazed.

Cheesy Mexican Risotto with Green Chiles

About 3 cups vegetable broth
3 teaspoons margarine, divided
1/3 cup diced onions
1 cup small diced red bell pepper
1 cup roasted New Mexico green chiles, well drained (We used Bueno Foods frozen New Mexico green chiles, thawed and drained in a sieve, adding any liquid to the above broth. If you have access to fresh fire-roasted green chiles, by all means use them!)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 a package Teese Nacho Cheese Sauce
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep hot over low heat.
Heat 1 teaspoon margarine over medium heat in a small skillet or frypan. Add the onion and cook until it turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the red peppers and cook until tender crisp. Set aside.
In a separate pot, melt two teaspoons margarine, add rice, stir and turn the heat to low. Add the white wine and cook until the wine has reduced by half.
Add about 1 cup of the hot stock to the rice mixture, and stir slowly until the stock is absorbed. This is the time-consuming part of making risotto.
Continue to add the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring slowly, letting the rice absorb the stock before adding more. After 15 minutes, add in the red peppers, onion and drained green chiles. Continue to cook.
The risotto is cooked when it is creamy on the outside and slightly firm (al dente) in the center, about 20 to 25 minutes, maybe longer.
Stir in the Teese Nacho Cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the risotto is too thick, add a little more stock until it becomes creamy.
Divide the risotto into serving dishes and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.



Soundly Vegan said...

I'm a big fan of risotto. It's such an awesome comfort food. That was a really creative way to use that variation of Teese. Nicely done!

Bianca said...

What a fun way to use Nacho Teese! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that stuff. That's my fave flavor, but I love 'em all. I typically eat it on nachos or in burritos. But next time I make an order, I'll have to try it this way.

Anonymous said...

No fair! I wish Chicago Soy Dairy would send ME some Teese so I could make this too. It sounds amazingly fabulous! Yum :-)


T said...

Risotto is my all-time favorite, but I've never made a mexican version before. This recipe is a definite must-try!

Vegan Deluxe said...

This looks fantastic! They don't have teese (or Daiya for that matter) here in Jacksonville where I live, but one of these days I'll mail order it. Great looking recipe, though! Maybe I'll substitute the Follow Your Heart nacho cheese, which is pretty decent.

froggythefrog said...

I really enjoyed making this with you, Tofu Mom. We must do this again and soon!