CHICKEN AND MUSHROOM RISOTTO

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2.5oz / 75g bacon (preferably streaky / fatty) (optional)
  • 12 oz / 350g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
  • 13 oz / 400 g mushrooms, sliced (I use Swiss brown)
  • 2 tbsp / 30g unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, finely diced (brown, white, yellow)
  • ½ cup / 125ml white wine (optional – sub with water or chicken broth)
  • 1¼ cups / 250g arborio risotto rice (Note 1)
  • 4 cups / 1 litre chicken broth/stock
Finishing
  • ½ cup / 35g freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 3 tbsp / 15 – 50g unsalted butter
  • Freshly chopped parsley
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pot or skillet (Note 2) over high heat. Add bacon and cook until golden. Transfer to small microwave-proof bowl.
  2. Leave about 1 tbsp bacon fat in pot – discard excess. Add chicken* and cook until browned and cooked through. Transfer to separate bowl.
  3. Add mushrooms* and cook until light golden. Add to bowl with chicken.
  4. Turn heat down to medium and return pot to the stove. Add butter, and melt. Add garlic and onion. Sauté for 3 minutes or until softened.
  5. Turn heat up to high, add rice and stir until the grains become partially translucent – no longer than 1 minute. (Note 3)
  6. Add wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot (to get any brown bits), until the alcohol smell evaporates ~ 2 minutes.
  7. Turn heat down to medium low. Add about 3 cups of stock. Then leave it, uncovered, stirring just once or twice, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Check firmness of rice and add ½ cup of stock at a time, stirring in between until absorbed, until the rice is cooked to your taste. (Note 4)
  9. Add chicken and mushrooms back into the risotto towards the end, just to heat through.
  10. Right at the end when the risotto is ready, add a splash of chicken broth to make the risotto to make it slightly soupy, then take it off the stove.
  11. KEY STEP: Add butter (the more the better!) and parmesan, then stir vigorously (activates the starch and makes it super creamy). The excess liquid will evaporate quickly, so add more if you want a soupier risotto, like what you get at posh restaurants.
  12. Serve IMMEDIATELY!! (Note5) Garnish with reheated bacon, and extra parmesan and parsley if desired.
NOTES
* The amount of oil required depends on how fatty the bacon and chicken is. If you use lean bacon and chicken breast, you’ll need 1 tbsp of oil for cooking the chicken and mushrooms (for each step).

KEY TIPS:
a) Start taste testing after you add around 3 cups of liquid to the risotto to see if the rice is ready, It should be firm, not soft.

b) Add a splash of stock at the very end to make it soupier than you want because then it needs to be taken off the stove to stir vigorously to activate the starch and make it creamy, and in this step that extra liquid you added will evaporate quickly. Posh restaurants make the risotto very soupy, so soupy that it spreads out on a plate like a thick soup and flows when you tilt the plate. It’s extremely rich (they use LOTS of butter), so this home version is creamy, not stodgy, but not as soupy as posh restaurants. Make it to your taste!

1. Risotto must be made with risotto rice, called Arborio Rice. Arborio is starchier than other types of rice which is essential for making creamy risotto. This recipe won’t work with normal rice – you’ll end up with a pilaf instead of risotto!

2. In order to use this “no stir” method of cooking risotto, you MUST use a large pot or deep skillet so the rice and liquid is spread out. This will not work in a saucepan as the liquid and rice will be too deep.

3. Do not over toast the rice. Over toasted rice = lose creaminess because it skills the starch.

4. The “proper” way is for the rice to be just cooked and still firm, but not hard. If you run out of chicken broth, switch to the hot water in the kettle. You may not use all the chicken stock.

5. Risotto continues to absorb liquid and will become gluggy if left out. So eat immediately! Use leftovers to make Arancini Balls – classic fried method or baked.

6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 4 servings. These are rather generous serving sizes – it reduces to 526 calories if you assume 5 servings.

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Serving size: 571g Calories: 658cal Fat: 24.8g Saturated fat: 10.8g Unsaturated fat: 14.0g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 59.7g Sugar: 3.9g Sodium: 1274mgFiber: 3.4g Protein: 41.9g Cholesterol: 111mg

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