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Risi e Bisi

This recipe is a twist on the Venetian classic, which was supposedly served to the doges at the Feast of Saint Mark.

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  • 1 1/2 pounds ham hocks
  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 large jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup medium-grain rice (7 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas
  • 1/2 pound Maine crabmeat
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the ham hocks with the water, add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the hock meat is tender, about 1 hour. Remove the hocks from the saucepan and skim any fat from the surface of the stock; keep the stock warm.
  2. Remove the meat from the ham hocks; discard the skin, fat, tendons and bones. Cut the meat into small dice; you should have about 3/4 cup.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce-pan. Add the shallots and jalapeño and cook over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and thyme and stir to coat the rice with the flavorings. Pour in the ham stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender and the stew is somewhat soupy, about 15 minutes. Add the peas, crabmeat, scallion, lemon juice and the reserved ham and simmer for 1 minute to heat through. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Contributed By Published April 2000

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