Drunken Risotto

This recipe is my Dad’s, and it dates from his (crazy) college days – apparently it was his go-to recipe when he and his chums came in after a night out, although to be honest I think at that kind of time I’d be more likely to go for something super easy like Pizza Sandwiches… on a normal evening though, this is a scrumptious dinner, full of big flavours, plus it’s a one-pot thing so there’s hardly any washing up!

300g rice
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 pint of chicken stock, plus extra boiling water
1 onion
1 stick of celery
A couple of handfuls of lardons
A good handful of chorizo
1 red pepper
1 tin of mackerel fillets in tomato sauce
A couple of handfuls of mushrooms
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Serves 4-5, depending on how hungry you are.

First, a quick word – I’m guessing that by this point, some people will have been put off by the mention of mackerel… but trust me, it’s really a very small amount, so it just makes the flavours deeper and richer. If you really can’t stand it, though, feel free to leave it out.
Chop the onion and celery finely, and get them frying in a drizzle of olive oil – use a big pan, because you’ll be making the whole dish in it. I find that a wok is perfect, because you can fry things properly in it but it’s also good and deep. While the onion and celery is softening, deseed and chop the pepper, and cut the mushrooms into chunks. Slice up the chorizo and add that to the pan with the lardons, and once the bacon has browned, add the peppers and mushrooms and stir well.
Next, add the rice, and keep stirring as it turns translucent. Once it starts to take on a golden colour, add a good sprinkling of turmeric. This will add a lovely warm spiciness, but it’s not too hot. Just be careful with it, because this spice will really leave a stain if you get it on your clothes.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes and a bit of chicken stock – enough that the liquid covers all the other ingredients.  Open the tin of mackerel and break up the fillets with a fork, then scrape those into the pan.
Leave the whole mixture to bubble, but keep an eye on it and add more stock whenever it starts to look dry. Once you run out of stock, add boiling water, and keep going until the rice is cooked.  Serve up a deliciously steamy plateful with a glass of red wine, close your eyes, and pretend to be in Spain.