Thursday, June 17, 2010

One-Pot Rice and Chicken (Easy Risotto)

This one-pot meal is really like a creamy risotto
but without all the stirring and standing over the stove.
You'll keep going back "for just a bit more."

I've made this several times now and I'm hooked. Do not attempt to prepare this with regular, long-grain rice. Why? It will turn out "mushy" opposed to "creamy." The Arborio rice gives it an unctuous, risotto-like consistency. To make it more frugal, I buy skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs and de-bone and skin them myself saving the scraps to the freezer for use in soup stock later. A heavy-bottomed pan will ensure that the rice doesn't scorch. I use an enamel-lined, cast-iron Dutch oven. this recipe is not time consuming and one could cut the veggies and chicken the night before to make things go even faster.

I do recommend using your own homemade chicken/turkey stock and using a quality cheese you grate yourself.

  • 1 large carrot, roughly cut
  • 1 celery rib, roughly cut
  • Shallots equivalent to about a 1/2 medium onion, roughly cut
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, roughly cut
Place the above four ingredients in a small food processor and pulse just until chopped. You don't want a paste. You want one cup. A bit more is just fine. I leave some carrots in slices just for presentation.
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 3 cubed, skinned and deboned raw chicken thighs, cut into chunks, about one cup or 8 ounces.
  • 1 heaping cup raw Arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 2 1/2  - 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (don't omit)
  • 1/2 cup or more grated Parmessan cheese or similar
  • 3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter (not margarine)
  • Freshly chopped parsley
Add the chicken stock in a 3-4 cup measuring cup. Place in microwave and nuke until hot, about 5 minutes. 

Heat a bit of olive oil in a heavy pan. And the vegetable mixture and chopped mushrooms and sautee until softened and steam begins to dissipate. Push to one side in the pan and add the cubed chicken. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. After a few minutes, mix with the vegetable mixture until all is caramelized and meat begins to brown. It doesn't have to cook through at this stage.

Add the white wine. Stir and allow to reduce a bit. Add the HOT chicken stock. stir. Add the dried onion flakes and stir. Now add the rice. Bring back to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. How easy and fast what that?!

If too much liquid remains, remove cover and allow to simmer. But you want some liquid because Arborio rice absorbs quite a bit of liquid even after it's done. When a flat-bottomed wooden spoon leaves a visible path when scraped along the bottom of the pan, it's usually done.

Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Now add the grated cheese.

If you want it creamier, just add a bit more of the reserved chicken stock.

Mix. Sprinkle with the parsley and mix. Serve with more cheese if desired.

NOTES: I've made with yellow onion but prefer the shallots. I've made it without the dried onion but prefer to add it for extra taste. This reheats very well and is even better the next day. If you've allowed it to get too thick, no problem--just add a bit more stock. Arborio rice is very forgiving. It's like a sponge.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sounds yummy! I also use shallots for anything I do with Arborio rice. (It really has such a gentle onion taste.)