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Risotto with smoked turkey, mushrooms, dried cherries, and sage

Risotto with smoked turkey, mushrooms, dried cherries, and sage

An age for sage
Do you have a bottle of sage in your spice cabinet that gets pulled out once a year for the annual stuffing of the turkey? If so, toss it and start fresh—with fresh sage, of course. Germans use the downy, silver-green leaves to flavor sausage; the French season pork with them; and in the Middle East, sage is used in salads. It adds a wonderful woodsy, slightly minty flavor that complements a wide variety of meat and poultry dishes. Buy fresh sage at your supermarket or health food store—you'll love the difference. Try it in our risotto and you'll find that you just might want to grow some in your garden.

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 ounces crimini or white mushrooms, quartered, then sliced
2 tablespoons DHC Núñez de Prado Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
4 cups chicken broth (reduced salt preferred)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio (short grain) rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup dried cherries, quartered
8 ounces of smoked turkey, cut across grain lengthwise into long, 1-inch-wide strips, then torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tablespoon shredded fresh sage
1/2 cup grated aged Asiago cheese (Parmesan or Romano can be substituted)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sliced chives (1/2-inch lengths)
Curls of cheese for garnish (optional)

1. In a medium saucepan, sauté mushrooms in one tablespoon oil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about three minutes; mushrooms will absorb oil, but keep cooking in dry pan, stirring constantly. Remove mushrooms from saucepan; reserve. (Keep saucepan, unwashed, to cook risotto in.)

2.In a small saucepan, bring broth to a simmer; reduce heat to lowest setting to maintain temperature.

3. In the same pan used for the mushrooms, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onion over medium heat until soft, about three minutes.

4. Stir in rice until well coated with oil. Cook rice another minute or two, stirring constantly, until it is opaque.

5. Deglaze with white wine, stirring constantly. (Deglazing is simply when liquid is added to loosen and dissolve brown bits and pan drippings formed at the bottom of the pan during cooking; it pulls all the flavor into the food.)

6. Stir in 1/2 cup hot broth and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until broth has been absorbed and mixture thickens. Risotto should cook at a lively simmer; adjust heat as necessary.

7. Repeat step 6, using 1/2 cup hot broth at a time, making sure rice absorbs liquid before adding more.

8. After adding two cups of broth, stir in turkey, cherries, and sage.

9. Continue adding broth. When rice is just tender, stir in reserved mushrooms and cheese. The risotto should be very creamy, not soupy or gummy.

10. Taste, then stir in salt and pepper as desired. Stir in chives. Garnish with cheese curls, if desired. Serve immediately.

Risotto with smoked turkey, mushrooms, dried cherries, and sage
To shred sage, simply pile up several leaves, then roll them lengthwise into a cylinder. Carefully cut thin slices crosswise.
Risotto with smoked turkey, mushrooms, dried cherries, and sage
Cutting dried fruit with a knife can be a challenge, but using cooking shears gets the job done in a few quick snips.