Becky’s Mackerel Risotto

25 Jul

Some friends are keepers, and Becky is one of them. For one, she knew me at college, when I wore corduroy (due to a sixth form ban on denim) and despite this sad sad fact has remained a good friend, therefore making the lady a saint. Secondly, myself, Becky and our friend Alison hold a tradition of feeding each other three carefully thought out and finely prepared courses every few months or so, which we have lovingly named Taste Sensation, and to which I will properly introduce you to at some later date.

Finally, and most importantly, she hauled her arse all the way to Manchester from Lancashire just six weeks short of having a baby (and brought said baby with her for cuddles) and for this, I love her dearly. So to show my appreciation, I did my best to give her a good feed, which is as perfect a way as any to show you care.

If you can imagine a world (the North West) without the intermittent sunshine and general stickiness we are currently experiencing, and cast your minds back to last week, the weather wholly sucked, and so I cooked my friend a hearty and comforting mackerel and pea risotto, the recipe for which I lifted and adapted from BBC Good Food, a treasure trove of easy suppers and seasonal suggestions.

Mackerel and Pea Risotto

Mackerel is a perfect fish for summer, light to eat yet richly flavoured, and being cheap and easy to work with makes it ideal for flinging into a risotto. I flake and mix the mackerel through in the final stages of cooking, which makes the fish go further, but if you wanted a big meaty mackerel hit, simply make the risotto with peas, and lightly grill your mackerel fillets before laying on top of a big dollop of the carby stuff.

The risotto needs no more adornment than a simple salad, which is a perfect foil for such a weighty dish, especially when it includes a few fresh sprigs of parsley. I followed up dinner with lemon posset and shortbread in the shape of an elephant, (such whimsy), but now is not the time (though absolutely the place) to eulogise all things lemon, my very own love affair to last a lifetime.*


  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion – finely chopped
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1l vegetable stock
  • 240g smoked mackerel – flaked
  • Cracked Black Pepper


  1. Setting a teaspoon of butter aside, heat the rest in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
  2. Once the butter is melted, throw in the onion and gently fry for 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Stir in the rice until it is coated in butter, then pour in the wine and cook until the wine has almost disappeared.
  4. Pour in half your stock and stir, leaving to cook until the stock has disappeared, before pouring in half of the remaining stock and repeating.
  5. Whilst the risotto is cooking, peel the skin from your mackerel and flake, removing any bones you can find.
  6. Pour in half of the stock that’s leftover into the frying pan with the frozen peas, again waiting until the stock has disappeared before adding in the last measure of stock along with the flaked mackerel.
  7. Once all the stock has gone, season with black pepper to taste and stir in the leftover butter.

 * For all you fellow lemon heads out there, check out this bit of lemon porn on Pinterest.


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