Simple Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
It took me years to move past my fears and attempt a risotto. It seemed like a lot of hard work for something that could easily turn into a gluggy disaster or worse – a pot of burnt rice (eeek!)
6 months ago I finally decided to give it a go and, I’ve never looked back! At least once a month, I rely on this recipe to create a dish I feel confident to serve to family, dinner guests, freeze or store in containers for the week’s lunch.
Before I launch into the list of ingredients and recipe method, I have to let you know you need 2 key things to make this recipe happen: patience and a few pots.
Patience will be your best friend while you use the reduction method to cook the rice, there is no short cut for this; and it helps to have access to a few pots because you’ll need one large pot to cook the risotto, another to simmer the stock and one more to cook your chicken and mushrooms.
Let’s get started.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 L Chicken stock
1 L Veg stock (I tend to use powered veggie stock, I like the options available)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 big brown onion, finely chopped
3 cups Arborio rice
500g chicken thigh fillets, diced into squares
300g mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed (this is up to you really – I *love* garlic)
½ cup parmesan
Salt and pepper
1. Combine the two stocks and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and keep on a simmer.
2. In the meantime, pull out a large pot and place it on a medium heat. Add half the oil and all the diced onion. Cook gently until the onion becomes soft and translucent. It may take up to 5 minutes until you’re happy with it. Your main objective is to soften the onion so you don’t encounter hard chunks when eating the yummy risotto.
3. Stir the rice into the flavours of the oil and onion. Add your first two ladles of simmering stock and stir the rice mix constantly with a wooden spoon. When you see the stock reduce into the rice add another ladle, making sure you continue stirring. Repeat until you’ve use all the stock. This step is when a crust of rice can form at the base of your pot and turn your risotto into a burnt disaster. Keep with it and you’ll get into a good rhythm. In 30 minutes you should have your rice at a pleasant, creamy texture.
4. Half way into cooking the rice, heat another pot with the remaining oil and stir fry your chicken until it starts to go brown. Add the mushroom and garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes.
5. When the rice and chicken are ready, combine together and add in the cheese. Season to taste.
With practice you’ll find your own style. I love to use lots of different veg for colour.
A few elements worth experimenting with include: leek, white wine, light cream cheese, blue cheese, Chinese broccoli, pumpkin, paprika, spinach leaves, parsley, feta, zucchini, carrot, peas and corn.
White wine is one of my favourite contributions to any risotto. Pour in half a glass when you’re combining the rice into the softened onion.
What’s your risotto style?