Mulled Apple Cider Risotto

I didn’t get hooked on mulled apple cider until after The Hubs and I got together.

Every Christmas, my mother-in-law busts out this little old carafe that sits on top of the stove and fills it up with apple cider and mulling spices. She will leave it warming there all day so we can come in and out sipping on it as we please.

It is just a little thing, but it has become something that I look forward to every holiday season the most. So much so in fact that when we couldn’t go do any traveling for Christmas last year because we had a 5 week old, I made sure that our house was stocked with apple cider and spices.

But I naturally over bought, and after a couple of weeks, grew quite tired of drinking apple cider. So I started trying to think of ways to incorporate it elsewhere. I started making my morning oatmeal with the cider, mulling spices, and cayenne. (P.S. It is totally amazing. Do it!) Then one morning, my mind went to risotto. But the problem was, when do you serve a sweet risotto?

Hmmm…maybe breakfast or dessert.

Okay. But who wants to stand over their stove and stir for an hour just for dessert? Or worse, first thing in the morning.

So I started researching some baked risotto recipes and tried it out. Now to be totally honest, you really do lose a little of the creaminess when you bake it as opposed to stirring on the stove top. But again, you only lose a little of the creaminess. It is still risotto. And you barely had to do any work.

You toast up the risotto in some butter and pour in your apple cider and spices. Bring it to a boil and pop it in the oven.

While that is cooking, get some water warming in a pot (or maybe your sweet little carafe) on the stove and when your risotto come out of the oven, gently stir that in about a cup at a time. Don’t worry though, this takes maybe 5 minutes. Stir in some orange zest and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Such a hearty, comforting, warm breakfast. Might be nice for Christmas morning dontcha think? We enjoyed ours on a random Saturday. It was perfect.

Oh and I would like to add that the person who enjoyed this the most at my house was Monkey Mode…just thought you might like to know.

Mulled Apple Cider Risotto

2 tablespoons butter, divided

2 cups Arborio rice

4 cups apple cider

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

3 cups warm water

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 425.

Warm apple cider in a pot until simmering, and add salt, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne, cinnamon, and honey.

In a medium dutch oven or oven proof pan with lid, heat one tablespoon of butter. Toast rice for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour warmed apple cider mixture into the rice, and stir until it comes to a boil.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes.

While the rice is baking, warm 3 cups of water and zest half of an orange.

When rice is done baking, pour in the water 1 cup at a time until it is incorporated.

Stir in orange zest and remaining tablespoon of butter.

Serve immediately with chopped pecans.

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