Good evening everybody! I am absolutely loving coming home from a day of work and getting straight into the kitchen to cook myself something lovely and whilst this gives me less time to write up my culinary adventures, it may not last for long (the early mornings are starting to hit me); so I will definitely be keeping you all posted with what I’ve been getting up to in there over the next few weeks.
This week, I decided to treat my boyfriend to a surprisingly easy chicken and mushroom risotto. Having never made a risotto before, I was a tad daunted at the thought of everything that could go wrong: burnt rice, sloppy risotto, undercooked chicken… but everything ran smoothly and I was very pleased with my first attempt!
I learnt from my mum that risotto is best cooked slowly and requires a little more attention that many other dishes, but dishes that require this extra love and attention are definitely worth the wait and I often feel more proud of myself at the end for waiting so long for the finished result!
I added a handful of porcini mushrooms to the risotto as I had them in the cupboard and they needed using up but it gave such a lovely extra depth to the taste and texture of the risotto I’ve made it a permanent change to the recipe.
Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
350g Chicken Breast, chopped into chunks
200g Mushrooms, sliced
30g Porcini Mushrooms
Approx. 165g Risotto Rice
Small Glass ( about 150ml) White Wine
850ml Chicken Stock (plus the left over juice from the soaked porcini mushrooms)
100g Grated Parmesan, or cheese of a similar taste
Lots of Salt and Pepper, for seasoning
Put the dried porcini mushrooms in a small ceramic bowl and cover with boiling water. Put a plate on top of the bowl to keep the steam from escaping and leave to one side for later.
Add a glug of olive oil to a large pan and heat it on medium/low heat. Add the onions and garlic once the oil is warmed and heat with the lid on for about 5-10 minutes, making sure you give it a stir every now and then to stop the onions from burning to the bottom of the pan.
Once the onions are soft and slightly translucent, add the chicken to the pan, give everything a stir and return the lid, keeping the heat medium/low. When the chicken is almost cooked, its time to add the sliced mushrooms to the pan, making sure you occasionally stir to make sure nothing gets stuck to the bottom of the pan.
When the chicken is completely cooked (it will be white throughout) and the mushrooms are nice and soft, drain the porcini mushrooms (adding the drained juices to the prepared stock) and add them along with the rice to the pan, giving everything a good stir so it is all evenly coated in the lovely oils. Now add the wine and stir again, before turning the heat down to low and letting the liquid reduce to half (this should take around 8 minutes).
After the wine has reduced, its time to start adding the chicken stock along with the salt and pepper. The rice will need the salt, but remember stock is also quite salty, so it’s really important to taste (I can think of worse things to do!) as you go along here. Adding the stock should be done one ladle-full at a time, so that the rice has time to absorb all the flavours from the stock. Once one ladle of stock has been absorbed by the rice (i.e. there is no liquid left in the pan), add another ladle and again, wait for this to be absorbed.
* I actually didn’t end up using all the stock I had prepared, and this may be the case with you. Just wait until the rice is soft and not grainy at all when you taste it.
Once your risotto has reached this consistency, add the grated cheese and give it a good stir, before removing it from the heat and serving with a glass of any left-over white wine! 😉