Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

This isn’t the first time I have made risotto, but it didn’t turn out nearly as good as this recipe did.  I knew the basic idea of it, slowly boil rice with stock until creamy and tender.  This needed to be quite savory since it was going to be as a main and not a side dish.  Big slices of mushroom, thick chunks of chicken, and creamy rice.  An ideal meal to welcome fall.  This recipe makes a perfect portion for a main dish for two, and is easily doubled for a family size meal.   It is my new favorite dinner, well for the next few weeks until I try some other combination or a new dish.  Don’t be afraid of risotto, I have a few tips to come out with perfect risotto without broken rice bits or it turning glugie and like oatmeal rather than a lovely creamy rice dish.  Once you get comfortable with the basic risotto you can add in anything you want in any combination you would like, it’s open to many possibilities.

The fundamental of risotto is simple.  Slowly cook the rice by adding a little bit of liquid at a time turning it into creamy happiness.  With the use of a second pan you save time by cooking the mushrooms and chicken with spices.  The amount of stock used in the rice will vary so in the recipe I give a range of cups to use.  I used two kinds of cheese, romano and parmesan.  I felt that the parmesan makes it too salty and the romano just perfectly balances it out, being a slightly milder hard cheese.  A great thing about this dish is it comes together in under 30 minutes.  You can have a hearty meal in no time, which is what most of us need.  You’re often tired by the time you get off work, you’ve battled traffic, and when you finally get home you don’t want to invest too much time in dinner. Want to spend that time in more productive ways, like making dessert?

My two, ok maybe three, biggest tips for perfect risotto are as follows:  First, only add one ladle full of stock at a time.  Use stock, not broth because as a broth reduces it gets very salty and you can lose control of the salt content in the rice.  The stock should be heated and simmering in a pot to the side to add into the rice.  Second, don’t use a spoon after you have the rice in the pan. How am I going to stir it then, you are asking.  Simple, agitate the pan by short slow circular motions or back and forward (think of cooking jiffy pop) to mix the hot stock into the rice after each ladle will help keep the grains whole, which also helps prevent it from getting gluey in texture.  Thrid, and I never can stress this enough in any recipe, T A S T E! Taste!  Tasting just before adding every other ladle of stock you can adjust seasoning: salt, cheese, or even pepper.  Lastly, don’t cook out all the liquid you want a creamy sauce with the rice. It should be soupy and creamy looking, not like a bowl of white rice.

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
Makes two Main Course Servings

  • 2 Shallots, finely diced
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 1 c Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 Chicken Breast (or 2 Thighs), Sliced into 1″ long pieces
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 3-4 c Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 c White Wine
  • 2/3 c Arborio Rice
  • 1/4 c Romano Cheese, shredded (extra for garnish)
  • 1/3 c Parmesan Cheese, shredded (extra for garnish)
  • 1 tbsp Parsley, chopped roughly
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

You will need two 10″ saute pans, and one small sauce pan 2 quart.   Pour the chicken stock into the sauce pan over medium-low heat.   Place each saute pan over medium heat.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in each pan, set the remaining 1 tbsp of butter aside.

Next, in a small bowl mix the shallots & garlic together.  Put 2/3 of the mix into one pan (this will be your risotto pan) and the remainder into the second pan (this will be the chicken and mushroom pan).

Turn your risotto pan down to medium low heat don’t brown your shallots/garlic mixture just want it to take on a translucent look.   In the chicken/mushroom pan, keep on medium heat once the shallots/garlic take on a light golden color add in the chicken and lightly brown.

Once your risotto pan mixture has taken on a translucent look add in the rice.  Gently toss with the shallots then add in the white wine, keep moving the pan around, think of making jiffy pop!  Once it reduces down by 1/3 or the rice seems to be sticking to the bottom add in a ladle of the chicken stock.  Keep moving the pan around gently in circular motion will help the rice get unstuck.  Once it is moving freely stop stiring and let it simmer slowly down.

Now turn your attention back to the chicken and mushroom pan, your chicken should almost be done cooking, and have a light golden tinge to it.  Push the chicken to the sides of the pan and put the mushrooms in the middle.  Level out into a layer as best as possible.  The mushrooms will soak up any butter/oil mixture left in the pan and then start to brown slightly.  While they are browning on one side, switch attention back to the rice

By now your first ladle of stock should have almost been absorbed.  Add in another ladle and using that same small circular motion to make the rice move freely around in the liquid again.  Let it simmer and turn attention back to the mushroom mixture.

Your mushrooms should be browned on one side now.  Mix the chicken with the mushrooms and add in the italian seasoning and a pinch of salt (optional to add pepper).  Taste, the mixture and add more salt to taste.   Add a half of ladle of the stock to the chicken mixture and let it simmer out quickly for 30 seconds then turn off the heat.

Now the rice mixture will have your complete attention, keep moving the pan in small circular motions and add in more stock.  At this point you should be on the third ladle of stock.  Repeat the process two more times before tasting the rice mixture and you’re looking for a rice that is firm in texture but not chalkie.  Once you think it is almost there about 5-7 ladles of stock later, add in the cheeses along with 1 more ladle of stock. Once the ladle of stock that was added with the cheeses cooks down and the mixture looks creamy, taste.

If you want more cheese add more, if the rice is still chalkie in texture keep adding more stock, no more then a ladle full at a time,  until it has reached your desired preference. Remember it should be slightly firm but not chalkie in texture, and the sauce should look creamy but not cover the rice so you cannot see the grains.

Once the rice is finished turn off the heat. break the tablespoon of butter you set aside earlier into 4 pieces and spread around the hot rice.  Let it melt, now you can use a spoon to mix the melted butter into the rice.

To serve, place 1/3  of the chicken and mushroom mixture into the bottom of each bowl.  Divide the hot risotto over the chicken mixture.  Sprinkling the remaining 1/3 of the chicken mixture over both bowls, top with grated cheese and chopped parsley.  Serve hot.

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