Skradinski rižot is a traditional veal risotto hailing from the small Dalmatian town of Skradin.
It is not possible to say with certainty when and on what occasion this dish was created, but the middle of the 19th century is often mentioned. Thanks to its excellent location, Skradin was located at the crossroads of trade routes, so exotic spices such as nutmeg and rice, which give Skradinski rižot a specific, recognisable taste, reached it by merchant ships.
Made traditionally by the men of Skradin, it needs to be cooked for a very long time – up to 13 hours, and stirred slowly using a “veslo”, a huge wooden cooker, to combine all the ingredients and give it its special taste.
Skradinski rižot – recipe
Ingredients (for around 10 people):
1.5 kg of red onion
1.5 kg of veal bottom round cut into 3×3 cm cubes
1.5 kg of rice
a few cubes of butter
For the stock:
plenty of root vegetables: carrots, parsley, celery, dried meat, onions
Put all the ingredients for the stock in a large pot and cook with a lot of water on low heat in a half-opened pot for as long as possible.
For the rižot:
After cleaning and chopping the onion, “yellow” (Dalmatian term for frying/sautéing onions) them on a low heat, slowly and patiently, with constant stirring until it turns into a homogeneous mass, or paste.
Clean the meat of all fat and veins, chop it into small cubes, add it to the onion and repeat the process until the meat falls apart into its recognisable strands. If necessary, pour stock over the meat.
Expect this process to take a few hours, and the result will be a thick mixture with threads of veal, onions and all the aromas of the base. Pour the meat mixture over the toasted rice and pour the stock over it until the rice and cook it to your liking.
Finally, add freshly grated nutmeg, frozen butter and stir as vigorously as possible to release as much starch as possible from the rice, which, in combination with the butter, will be responsible for your creamiest risotto. Serve risotto with a powerful red wine and indulge in the pleasure.
Secrets of Skradinski rižot
Use the whole nutmeg, not ground, and grate it near the end, so that it undergoes the shortest heat treatment possible.
The ratio of onions and meat is 1:1, only veal bottom round is used.
To make the rižot, use frozen butter that you previously cut into cubes, it will stop the rice from overcooking with its low temperature.
If you are in Zagreb this Sunday, 18 December, then head to the Picnic house at Fuliranje on Strossmayer Square where it will be cooked by Dalibor Anić, one of the guardians of Skradinski rižot who has been preparing it for 40 years. You can reserve you portion by sending a message on Picnic’s social media pages.
Picnic – mingle&fun IG: https://www.instagram.com/picnic.mingle.fun/?hl=en
Picnic – mingle&fun FB: https://www.facebook.com/picnic.mingle.fun/