Biltong risotto with butternut squash is not traditionally African, however, it falls into the Afro Cosmopolitan Diet category where we have added key African ingredients and made it our own. I created this dish using Southern Africa’s much loved and well known cured meats, biltong. Biltong is commonly enjoyed as a snack. No cooking is required to enjoy it, just that pure chewy and flavourful rump. Recently I decided to try it in a variety of cosmopolitan dishes and this is one of them. As our dear friend Ron Mack put it, feast your eyes on bilzotto mateys!
Butternut is also a favourite in Southern Africa. I cannot adequately describe the flavour which emanates from Zimbabwe grown butternut squash. During one visit, Mbuya Muyambo brought home a huge sack of butternut. You don’t even need butter with them. They were exceptionally delicious, flavoursome, nutty, divine, steady and textured. They don’t disintegrate into soup when boiled either. I remember eating them thinking they were pretty special.
When it comes to my biltong risotto with butternut squash recipe, I remember developing it in London after fortunate circumstances involving a bulk purchase of biltong. It was literally priced to go. What luck? Biltong is not the cheapest meat treat you can find anywhere so I felt particularly chuffed to be able to buy so much. I remember making biltong stew with peanut butter in it. Do you remember that? The Guardian UK audience tore it to pieces ha ha, but it was not a strange thing to cook at all. I still had so much leftover that I made a biltong salad too. You might not need all these biltong dish ideas but we have loads of them.
After many years of patience, I finally have the recipe video up on YouTube.
1 tbsp olive oil
300g Arborio rice
2 garlic cloves crushed
150ml White wine (use more chicken stock if you prefer)
750ml Chicken stock
300g butternut pumpkin, 1 inch cubed
50g grated parmesan cheese
100g pack of rocket
1. In a heavy based pan, melt butter, add olive oil and fry onions for a couple of minutes on a medium heat.
2. Add the garlic and rice; stir until rice is translucent
3. Deglaze pan with the wine, boil for two minutes, then ladle in some chicken stock a little at a time whilst stirring continuously.
4. Add the butternut after 5 minutes of the stirring/ladle process.
5. Add the biltong after another 5 minutes; continue adding stock and stirring. Reserve a few biltong pieces for garnishing.
6. Check whether your rice is cooked. Add all of the parmesan cheese and give risotto a final stir. Dish out the risotto and garnish with remaining biltong and the rocket.