It is so chilly on the West coast (I know, 49 degrees is not cold but I have never had “snow days” so I can complain about needing to wear a scarf and gloves). Nothing warms me better than comfort food – mmm, mashed potatoes, potpies, biscuits and gravy, stews. I’m already starting to feel my toes warm up just thinking about publishing this post.
Papa was in the mood for mushroom risotto for his birthday so…I took on the challenge. I’ve made risotto once before so I knew there was going to be a lot of stirring. Nana helped though and we paired it with a very easy braised chicken.
Braised Chicken and olives (adapted from Fifteen Spatulas)
- 4 chicken legs, skin-on and bone-in
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
- 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 handful of kalmata olives, pitted
- 1 TBS olive oil
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- zest of 1 lemon, julienned
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Salt and pepper the chicken legs. Heat up an ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and the chicken legs skin side down. Cook for a couple minutes until the skin has browned. Turn over and sear on the other side. Remove the chicken from the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the fennel and onion to the pan. Saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the white wine to the pan and bump the heat up to medium high. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper, olives, lemon zest strips, bay leaf, thyme, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil.
- Return the chicken to the pan skin side up and place in the oven to cook for ~ 40 minutes depending on the size of your legs (or until the juices run clear when you knife prick the joint between the drumstick and thigh). (While the chicken is in the oven, start the risotto)
- Turn the broiler on high, and cook the chicken for 2 minutes to brown and crisp up the skin (watch carefully).
Creamy Mushroom Risotto (adapted from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook)
- 2 quarts chicken stock or vegetable stock (the recipe says duck stock but I couldn’t find any. I bet it’s amazing with it though)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup shallot, leek or onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups risotto rice
- 1/2 pound fresh crimini, sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
- Pour the stock and wine into a pot and bring it to a gentle simmer.
- In another medium pot, heat the butter over medium-high heat and add the minced shallot or onion and a pinch of salt. Saute until it softens and turns translucent. Add the garlic, mushrooms and rice and coat with the butter. Stir often.
- When the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and stir well (I like to use a wooden spoon). The key to making a great risotto is to constantly stir. Think of it as stirring the bottom of the pot. As each ladle of stock is absorbed, add another, then another. At some point, you’ll see that the rice isn’t absorbing the stock as quickly. Keep adding a ladle of hot stock until the rice is cooked through, but still firm.
- When you reach that point, add the grated cheese and a little more stock. Stir to incorporate the cheese into the risotto. Add the chopped parsley and serve at once with your braised chicken.
PS if you have leftover risotto, check out my next post on Arancini (or risotto balls)