Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January Risotto

This month it's snowed a LOT which is good for two things: skiing and piping hot meals. For January's risotto, I flipped through my cookbook and picked the the one that looked the warmest and coziest: chicken and mushroom risotto.

As I've cooked more and more risottos, I've started to deviate away from the original recipes a bit, substituting a few ingredients for ones that I can find more easily in our region, cutting down on the butter (!!), and changing up portion sizes - but two things always stay the same: the onion and the celery! Here's what I did:

Simmer 4 cups of chicken broth on the stove while you chop up one onion, one rib of celery, a few mushrooms (the original recipe called for portobello which would be delicious but we don't have those right now, so I used what I had, which was white button mushrooms), and two or so cloves of garlic.

Melt 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and celery, and cook a while until soft - about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile in a smaller pan, cook the chopped mushrooms for a few minutes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. I like my mushrooms to be a bit firmer and not soggy, so I only cook them for 3 or so minutes. Once they're cooked how you like them, remove them from the pan and set aside. Add 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts to the same pan and cook through. When the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the heat and let it cool. Once it's cooled, shred it.

Back to your vegetable mixture - add the Arborio rice once the celery and onions are soft. These days I'm doing 3/4 of a cup for two people, for two main course servings. Stir the rice around so it gets coated in the butter and add 1 cup of white wine. Once the wine is absorbed, you can start adding the broth, one ladle at a time, and stirring in between each addition.

When the rice has taken all the broth that it wants, add in the shredded chicken, mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, a bit of tarragon, and about 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

 Serve immediately and warm up from the inside out!