Scallion and Beef Risotto

scallion and beef risottoThe combination of scallions and beef is rather common in some South Asian cuisine but in the West scallions rarely have a starring role. Here I have sought to give these lovely little onions their chance to shine by using only a bit of beef as a flavoring. The rich homemade brown stock obviates the need for much further seasoning beyond salt and pepper. I finish the South Asian twist by serving the rice with Indian-inspired cucumbers in yoghurt.


  • 4 ounces lean beef cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Thai seasoning sauce or soy sauce
  • ½ cup low-fat plain yoghurt
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 or 6 large scallions, white and green parts separated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2½ cups brown (beef) stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter, optional


Put the beef into a small bowl and add the Thai seasoning sauce or soy sauce. Stir to combine and set aside.

Line a strainer with cheesecloth, set over a bowl, and add the yoghurt. Peel, seed, and shred the cucumber then place it in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt. (Don’t worry; you will be rinsing it off later.) Let both sit for at least a half hour to give up their moisture. Rinse the cucumber well, squeeze out the extra water with your hands or a towel. Put the yoghurt into a bowl and add the cucumber, curry powder, garam masala, and cinnamon. Mix well to combine. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Finely chop the white parts of the scallions and separately cut the green parts crosswise into ½‑inch thick pieces. Bring the stock to a simmer. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium-high heat and brown the meat well. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Adjust the oil in the pan and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and fry, stirring constantly, until chalky, about 3 minutes. Stir 1 cup of the stock into the rice. Reduce the heat until the rice is simmering gently. Stir constantly until the liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue to add stock, 2 ounces at a time, stirring until nearly absorbed. After you have added 2 cups of stock taste the rice. It should offer just a bit of resistance to the tooth. If it is too hard continue to add stock until it is done. If it is ready fold in the beef and the scallion greens then another 2 ounces of stocks. Stir of a minute to warm the meat through and just wilt the scallions. Mix in the butter if using. Serve hot with a large dollop of the cucumber sauce.


3 responses to “Scallion and Beef Risotto

  1. Karen August 9, 2011 at 09:41

    Your scallion and beef risotto sounds so interesting. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide August 9, 2011 at 22:36

    Such a novel treatment, OK for me. I tend to stick to more traditional flavors with my risotto. I really like this twist. Maybe I need to do more experimenting on this front!

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