Smoked Eel and Leek Risotto

Smoked Eel by you.

I was pretty excited to see smoked eels for sale at the East Midlands Food Festival from local Smiths Smokery. However after buying one I was quickly educated by fellow Twitterers that eels are a heavily overfished species. I had totally missed that, cod I knew , but eels less than 10 years ago my flatmate was catching them and using them as bait from the Severn.

However I am somewhat assured than  Smith’s Smokery a family run business first started catching eels on the East Coast of England over thirty years ago. For many years their eels were sold live to Billingsgate Market in London or sent by lorry to Holland. Ten years ago they began smoking eels and selling them locally on farmers markets and  are the only company in the UK catching and smoking their own eels from a sustainable resource.

In the last three to four years we have been selling fresh boiled american signal crayfish that are caught as a bycatch when fishing for eels.

Smoked Eel by you.

I don’t think there could me much more scary looking that a smoked eel , it looks like a snake , but it smells like bacon so I think that got me through the preparation. Peeling back the skin and inching the oily meat from the bone. Once peeled the eel has a light pink colour and delicate flesh.

Smoked Eel by you.

I wanted a dish that would let me taste the smoked eel  since eco-guilt  means it will be my last. Since we had roast chicken this weekend I had made some fresh chicken stock which pointed me hard towards  risotto and rather than onion some light and fragrant leeks.

The risotto was good but didn’t pack quite the punch, there was smokiness rather than fishiness , I think next time I will try smoked mackerel or salmon also available from Smiths’

Smoked Eel and Leek Risotto by you.

Smoked Eel and Leek Risotto

200g of risotto rice
150g of smoked eel cut into 1cm peices
1 large leek finely chopped
1.5 pints of chicken or fish stock
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tsp of butter
Salt and Pepper to season

  1. Melt the butter in the pan
  2. Fry the risotto rice until translucent
  3. Add the leeks and garlic
  4. Slowly add the stock, a ladle at a time stirring until absorbed
  5. For the last 2 minutes stir in the eel
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
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5 Responses to Smoked Eel and Leek Risotto

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  2. Kerri says:

    I had no idea about eel being over-fished either, I can’t keep up with what we can and can’t eat as it seems to change so frequently. I’d love to try cooking it myself though but, like you, the eco-guilt will now prevent me!

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  5. Lux says:

    Oh my gosh was so at the East Midlands Food festival – soooo many yummy things! You should try making smoked eel, coriander and cucumber rice paper wraps with a soy chilli lemongrass/lime dipping sauce – nom nom nom!

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