Thursday, July 28, 2011

Herbed Risotto with Chicken and Caramelized Onions

I haven't updated this blog in forever, but I figure the easiest way to start that process again is to post about something I really like talking about! Recipes! However, we have had a million things going on and hopefully I'll post about them someday.

Risotto is something I never considered trying until I moved to Australia, where it is extremely common and it's on every menu, everywhere. It's also made frequently by most home cooks. I think the only place I'd ever heard it talked about was in Gilmore Girls, by Sookie, who raved about how great her's was. I just assumed it was too complicated. However, after I tasted the creamy goodness of risotto for the first time, I was hooked! I found this recipe and immediately wanted to try it. It is a very fool-proof method and really doesn't even require that much time [another risotto myth]. Jordan loves this recipe, too! Enjoy!

Herbed Risotto with Chicken and Caramelized Onions

Yield: about 6 servings

1½ tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
Pinch of sugar
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
¾ tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups Arborio (medium grain) rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 tbsp. minced fresh chives [I just used chives]
Ground black pepper


Add 1½ teaspoons of the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and sugar, stirring to coat. Allow the onion to cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown and caramelized. Remove the onions to a plate and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the chicken broth and water and bring to a simmer. In the meantime, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet used to cook the onions set over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Transfer the chicken to the heated skillet and cook, turning once, until each side is a light golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer the chicken pieces to the saucepan with the simmering broth mixture. Let cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165˚ F or until cooked through (no longer pink). Remove the chicken from the broth and transfer to the plate with the onions.

Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Once melted, add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice to the pan, stirring to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the grains are translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes.

Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until fully absorbed, about 2-3 minutes. Stir 5 cups of hot broth mixture into the rice. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until almost all liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just al dente, 16-19 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.

Add ¾ cup of the hot broth mixture to the risotto and stir gently and constantly until the risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Stir the shredded chicken and caramelized onions into the risotto with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, lemon juice, parsley and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add up to ½ cup of the remaining broth mixture to add moisture and loosen the texture. Serve immediately.

Source: Annie's Eats, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, May/June 2010

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