Beetroot and Red Wine Risotto with Oregano and Seared Halloumi

10 Mar

This recipe is inspired by our trip to the Holden Manz Wine Estate in Franschhoek. Holden Manz is owned by Gerard Holden and Migo Manz, an artist whose paintings and sculpture decorate the public areas. They took over the existing wine estate about a year and a half ago and have been reinventing it ever since.

There is a beautiful Manor House with luxurious suites that has an exclusive yet unpretentious atmosphere. This could be said of the whole estate. They have a refreshingly modern approach to the business which translates into every area. The spa, guest house, winery and restaurant all have a positivity that comes from the staff being well-trained and excited about what they do and where they work.

You can order a picnic with food fresh from the garden orchard and a lovely bottle of the Holden Manz rose. Wander down to the banks of the river, chose your spot under the oak trees and while away the afternoon. Try some of their award-winning wines, a food and wine pairing or the extremely popular tapas menu.

The Franschhoek Kitchen restaurant has very quickly become a name up there with the heavyweights in the culinary town of Franschhoek. And those are some big names.

The stand out dish, for me, was the Holden Manz shiraz and beetroot risotto with duck prosciutto. I didn’t eat the duck obviously but the sweet beetroot risotto with a hint of peppery spice from the shiraz really was delicious. The Washer Up said it was perfect with the salty, smoky duck. My challenge was to recreate this dish at home and find a suitable replacement for the duck. 

I immediately thought of feta because its salty, sour creaminess would be the perfect contrast to the sweet, dark and earthy beetroot. And this would still be great but halloumi has that slightly chewy, meaty texture that as well as the saltiness that gave it the edge over the feta. The oregano is because we have just bought an oregano plant so it is “new favourite thing” and it goes well with hallloumi for that extra bit of Greek flavour.

You make a beetroot puree to add to the risotto, we made a bit extra to use as a dressing on the plate. It really increases the volume on the beetroot flavour. It’s up to you.

Beetroot & Red Wine Risotto with Oregano & Seared Halloumi

Serves 3-4, vegetarian, gluten-free. Adapted from The Franschhoek Kitchen recipe

Prep time: about 30 mins if roasting beetroot Cooking Time: 25-35 mins

  • about 160 gr baby beetroots, roasted until soft with olive oil salt & pepper (or you can buy precooked vacuum packed beetroot) but don’t used the pickled stuff in jars.
  • 250 gr arborio rice (we used brown short-grain rice it takes longer to cook and more stock)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano or thyme (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk young celery, finely chopped
  • salt & black pepper
  • 250 ml (or more if using brown rice) red wine (Shiraz/Syrah if possible) something peppery and spicy
  • 250-500 ml veg stock
  • a handful of finely grated manchego (or parmesan) cheese
  • 250 gr pack halloumi cheese, in 1/2 cm slices
  • rocket or watercress to serve
  • some finely diced cooked beetroot for garnish (optional)

Blend the cooked beets with a stick blender to a smooth puree. Reserving some to finely chop for garnish if you like. Taste and season with salt and pepper (if you haven’t already).

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Put the veg stock in a small pan over a low-medium heat and keep hot, not boiling.

Fry the onions and celery in the hot oil until starting to soften (4-5 minutes) then add the garlic and oregano, cook for another minute then add the rice. Stir to coat the rice then add three-quarters of the beetroot puree, stirring again.

Add the wine, in three parts stirring all the time until each lot is absorbed into the rice. Then add the hot stock a ladle full at a time, stirring untill each ladle full is absorbed before adding the next.

Keep adding the stock until the rice is cooked (you may need to add more stock/wine to the small saucepan depending on the rice). Season with salt and black pepper.

Remove from the heat stir through the grated cheese, cover and leave to stand while you cook the halloumi.

Heat a frying/saute pan over a medium-high heat but DON’T add any oil. Dry the slices of halloumi on kitchen paper then put into the hot pan. Cook for a minute or so on each side until browned and slightly crispy.

To serve: spoon the risotto into bowls (or into a chefs ring on a plate) and top with the halloumi slices. Garnish with a smudge of the reserved beetroot puree, the rocket or watercress leaves, chopped beetroot and some baby oregano leaves.

Serve with a nice glass of the red wine you used to cook the risotto. The Holden Manz Shiraz if you’re lucky…..

For more information about the Holden Manz wine estate, visit their website here.

Have a great weekend!!

22 Responses to “Beetroot and Red Wine Risotto with Oregano and Seared Halloumi”

  1. Three Well Beings March 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    What an appealing recipe! I’ve had a slightly similar dish at a local very posh vegetarian restaurant. The beet root salad was a standout, tasting so unusual and looking so beautiful in its presentation. I really had no idea how to compose the dish, and now I can follow suit with this one. I wonder if Holden Manz wines are distributed in the U.S. I enjoy learning about other wineries. I’ll look into that! Your photographs create such a lovely encouragement to learn more! Debra

  2. thebigfatnoodle March 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Wow, amazing recipe. I love grilled halloumi too and your risotto also seems much healthier since you don’t use much oil. Yum.

  3. Tony Ward March 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Its like having you in the country again guapa.This looks amazing and it has reminded me that we REALLY need to go take a look (and taste)??
    Seems to me that beetroot is the new fresh air, its around us everywhere !! Love it, reminds me of Grandad, pickled with a cheese sandwich (the beetroot not Grandad!!) xx

  4. frugalfeeding March 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    That is so, SO pretty. I’m not going to pretend that I like beetroot, but I do like this post – any beetroot lover couldn’t reuse this.

  5. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide March 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    That is just insanely awesome crazy tasty looking!

  6. Priscilla M March 11, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    What a great idea for risotto! Never thought of beet root in my risotto but it sounds delicious, and the grilled halloumi really compliment the dish.

  7. Medeja March 11, 2012 at 5:52 am #

    I would love this.. I like beetroot and red wine..and risotto! And here everything in one 🙂

  8. peasepudding March 11, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    OMG, I just love it! I am introducing modern vegetarian classes to my school and one of the dishes is beetroot risotto and this is a great way to show it off.

  9. Helen Jones March 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Is the cheese really vegetarian or does it contain rennet?

    • foodblogandthedog March 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      You can get it made with or without rennet if you look hard enough!!

  10. dassana March 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    your risotto with the beetroot is so healthy. nice pics and a great meal.

  11. spree March 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    I’m tasting it, and I’m loving it! Simply deliciously Beautiful!

  12. Kiri W. March 11, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Wow, what an amazing presentation! I love red wine risotto, and beets sound like a wonderful, sweet addition. Absolutely stunning recipe!

  13. The Mistress of Spices March 12, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    This is absolutely lovely! I’ve always wanted to make a beet risotto being a huge lover of beets, it sounds like yours is a perfect recipe! I’m not sure if I can find halloumi here in Thailand, but I’ll definitely look for it. And reading your post brought back lovely memories of travels in the wine country of the Western Cape many years ago. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Suzi March 12, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    This is totally impressive. What a beautiful presentation and photos. Congrats on the Top 9. Well deserved, I just love it.

  15. Corina March 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    It’s a very pretty dish and looks like something you’d be served in a restaurant. I love the halloumi on top.

  16. Sarah (@wcpartyparty) March 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    This recipe is so unique, and beautiful!! I love both beets and grilled halloumi, mmm.

  17. Chica Andaluza March 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    I adore beetroot and this looks and sounds incredible. Where do you find Halloumi here?

    • foodblogandthedog March 17, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      Welcome back Tanya! I get Halloumi from the Iceland/Waitrose store in Fuengirola, but don’t tell anyone!!

      • Chica Andaluza March 17, 2012 at 11:43 am #

        Ooh – I keep promising myself a trip there but it´s a bit of a hike for us! Will keep your secret 😉


  1. Beetroot And Red Wine Risotto With Halloumi - Confessions Of A Carrot Killer Confessions Of A Carrot Killer - May 18, 2012

    […] recipes from the brilliant Cook Eat Live Vegetarian blog last weekend. The second of the two was a beetroot and red wine risotto with seared halloumi. I’d been looking for recipes with beetroot and recipes with halloumi for a while, and was so […]

  2. Recipe Files: Risotto | Homemade Recipes - October 28, 2012

    […] Beetroot and Red Wine Risotto […]

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