Okay guys, tonight I made my very first risotto and it turned out to be PENG! I’m over the moon…
Not only did it yield three healthy sized portions (maybe four if your house mates don’t scran it or you have a massive appetite like me) but it was relatively easy and cheap to make. Most risottos require a heavy bottomed dish, but you can easily make it in a woman’s best friend: the wok.
- 4 chicken thighs (or breast) – I prefer to use thigh fillets as they are cheaper than breast fillets or mini fillets and actually are waaaaay juicier. [£2.50 from Morrisons; 6 thighs cost £3.77]
- Seasoning – I used dried mixed Italian herbs, salt, black pepper, chilli flakes. Seasoning is obviously to your own taste, but I used 2 (generous) pinches of the mixed Italian herbs, a pinch of chilli flakes, a couple of twists of salt [you don’t need much salt as it’s in stock] and about double the number of twists of black pepper. Ooh I also added a good glug of lemon juice for that tang. Also, I’m not sure of the prices of the spices etc, as they were cheap in bulk and from home… I’d advise investing in some basic spices, particularly the ones that you know you’ll be using on a regular basis. Pretty much the total cost of the seasoning seems like 2p.
- 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped… or if you have that weird garlic press use that, but I never bother with it (too much faff with washing up)
- Onions and leeks – I buy these frozen from Morrisons for about £0.92 per bag and they’re decent portions. They keep for ages and it means that I’m not wasting vegetables because they’ve suddenly gone mouldy in the fridge (again my housemates appreciate ahahah) I’m lazy and inventive, so never really weigh out vegetables, I just guestimate, and chuck a few handfuls of the stuff in.
- 1 green pepper – or any colour you like. I had a green pepper that needed using. Simples. [as cheap as 33p per pepper. Worth it as they’re delicious]
- 250g arborio risotto rice – or “one part”. Don’t use long grain or basmati rice, otherwise it’s not a risotto… Don’t lie to yourself that it is;) [a 500g bag is about £1]
- 705ml stock – or “three parts”; you can use chicken or vegetable stock. I used vegetable. Stock must be hot, so I’d recommend adding the stock powder or cube to 750ml of boiled water (check stock directions for strength)
To begin with, I fried off the chicken in a little sunflower oil, and seasoned in the pan. Once the chicken had been cooked through (sliced, and it will take about 3 minutes), I put it to one side, but kept the same pan on with all the oils and juices and seasoning. This is KEY to making one hella good tasting risotto as all the flavours are kept in that pan.
I then sweated the onions, leek, pepper and garlic and then added the risotto rice. Stirred it in the pan for a minute or so to soak up the juices, and then chucked in the stock. Most risotto recipes tell you to add the stock in a ladle at a time, but I found a short cut… I brought it to the boil, whilst stirring, and then left it to simmer for about 25 minutes (maybe a bit longer) on a low-medium heat.
Remember to keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. If the rice has absorbed all the stock but is still hard, add a glug of water and stir.
Once the risotto looked like how a creamy risotto is supposed to look like and the rice had absorbed the stock and didn’t taste hard, I added in the cooked chicken and made sure it had heated through before spooning a load into a bowl. Because I wanted to take a photo of my very delicious and instagrammable food (ooh instascran), I garnished with chopped spring onions (scallions, I believe to the USA), and dug in shortly after.
I could have adapted this recipe: adding bacon would create a lovely smokey/salty taste through it – I’d fry off with the chicken. In addition, you could substitute 100ml of white wine or sherry for 100ml of stock for a somewhat decadent taste, and garnish with Parmesan or Gran Padano cheese.
If you guys make a risotto, let me know how it turns out – if for some reason you copy my recipe, let me know what you think!