Food/ Recipe/ Southern African Food

Biltong Risotto With Butternut Squash

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.

Recipe Inspiration

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.

Biltong Risotto

Biltong Risotto © myburntorange

50g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
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
200g biltong
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.


Bilzotto © myburntorange


© myburntorange

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