Barry Bryson recipe: Pimenton, lemon and chilli risotto with mussels, cockles and kale

One of Scotland’s leading caterers and private chefs Barry Bryson gives us a delicious slice of seafood with this recipe for Pimenton, lemon and chilli risotto with mussels, cockles and kale

Published: January 19, 2017
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Pimenton, lemon and chilli risotto with mussels, cockles and kale

In a medium sized pan slowly melt the butter and olive oil together and once hot add your shallots and reduce the heat so they cook gently for a few minutes and stay translucent, you want to avoid colouring them so keep the heat low.

Add the garlic and chilli and again keep the heat low and cook for a few more minutes stirring gently.

Add your pimenton to the mix and gently coat through for a minute over the gentle heat.

Add your rice to the pan and allow it to stick for a minute but no longer than that and then add the wine letting it reduce and cook off for another minute or two.

Add your zested lemon.

Gradually start adding your chicken stock (pescatarian’s can use vegetable stock or a light fish stock).

Gently stir the rice and stock together and allow the stock to reduce gradually by adding more slowly as the rice absorbs it.

After about ten minutes you will have some firm rice that still requires some further cooking but at this point turn the heat off and leave it to sit, stopping the heat now will allow the flavour to develop but crucially helps you to not over-cook your rice.

Whilst the risotto sits and marries it’s flavours together head over to a scrubbed clean sink and prepare your mussels and cockles/clams.

Wash your shells and in cold running water ensuring all shells are tightly closed, discard any that are open or partially open as they can be unsafe to eat, with your mussels now washed and clean you can pull away at the thread of mussel beard tightly to “de-beard” them, a sharp tug will do it and it’s unlikely you’ll find this on every one but do check to remove it.

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Use the back of a knife to chip away any small barnacles on the shells if there are any.

Put the shells back in the fridge and give your sink a good anti-bac and rinse.

Using a small two-section steamer pan place a litre of cold water in the bottom with a bay leaf and a spring of thyme and heat the water until simmering.

Return to your risotto and carry on cooking it through for another five minutes by adding the remaining stock, check at this point how firm the rice is and decide if it needs more stock/further cooking or seasoning with some salt.

Add your chopped kale and cook for another two/three minutes.

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Whilst this happens place your mussels and cockles into the steamer sections and place over the simmering pan of water with the lid on.

You can add the shells directly to the risotto pan and steam the directly with the rice if you like but steaming them separately means you will get a more even cooking temperature for them plus your shells will be clean to pick up and eat from later when you sit down to enjoy.

After three minutes the shells will have steamed open and your rice should be now ready to assemble with your shellfish.

Plate up the risotto first and then add onto the top and around the sides your mussels and cockles, garnish with a drizzle of cold pressed rape seed oil and a sprifg of thyme and enjoy a perfect (almost) one-pot wonder!


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  • 6 banana shallots, skinned and finely diced
  • 2 plump cloves of very fresh garlic, finely chopped/crushed
  • 1 finely diced red chilli
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 350g Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 50 g butter
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 2 tea spoons of sweet pimenton/paprika
  • 100g washed chopped kale
  • 150ml of dry white wine
  • 750ml of Chicken stock (home-made or a boullion jelly one)
  • 800g of live rope-grown mussels
  • 400g of cockles or clams
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs of thymes
  • Cold pressed rape seed oil or olive oil to drizzle
  • Rock salt to your taste
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