Thursday, February 14, 2008

Golden risotto with chicken and butter beans

More risotto! 2008 has a theme thus far. I suspect I'll back off after this go-round, but this was a great way to use my roast chicken leftovers. I wanted something that was creamy and delicious, like wintertime comfort food. And risotto totally delivers. It sort of makes me think of an old-fashioned chicken-and-rice recipe. If you don't have butter beans you should use tiny green peas, in fact it might actually be better with those, a little more elegant.

Begin with a whole lot of chicken fat on the bottom of a pan. I was trying to make gribenes, which are chicken skin crisps fried in chicken fat. It was just for fun, because I had a lot of chicken fat left over and a whole chicken skin so I was trying it out. Didn't really work, but I had a tablespoon of chicken fat in my pot afterwards and some delicious golden chicken fat sticking, so I just started my risotto there. Sautéed one small minced onion in the fat until soft and golden, then added 1 cup arborio rice. Continued to sauté for about 3 minutes then began slowly adding 3 ½ cups of chicken stock. As before with cooking a risotto, add the liquid only ½ cup at a time, stirring until it is all absorbed. If you have some white wine, replace a ½ cup of the chicken stock with wine--I didn't have any open on hand so I didn't do that this time. This will not be pure white like a risotto sautéed in butter and wherein you don't allow the onions to color. That's why I'm calling it a golden risotto--possibly it is unorthodox, but whatever, it's tasty. Anyway, after your risotto has absorbed 2 cups of liquid, stir in a ½ cup of butter beans or tiny green peas along with about 1 cup of chicken meat, cut into small ½" pieces. Stir these in along with the remaining 1 ½ cup of liquid, still going only ½ cup at a time. When you are down to your last ½ cup of liquid, add in ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese, then continue adding liquid until all has been absobed and the rice is creamy and delicious, which it should be by that point. Season with fresh black pepper and enjoy.

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