Friday, October 17, 2008

Saffron Chicken Risotto

Our first recipe — this is exciting. Tonight we made an adaptation of Cooking Light's 'Seafood Risotto.' We substituted chicken for the seafood, and white wine (a local one, from Williamsburg Winery) for the clam juice. We also left out the tomatoes. Overall, we were really impressed with how quickly this dish came together and how elegantly it turned out, considering that it only used pantry ingredients we already had on hand. Perfect for a Friday night!

  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1/4 c. chopped shallots (or sweet onion), finely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1/2 c. Arborio rice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice (approximately the juice of one half lemon)
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 c. white wine (we used Williamsburg Winery Governor's White)
  • 1/2 lb. chicken breasts, thin-sliced
  • 2 tbsp. whipping cream
  1. Bring chicken broth and wine to a simmer (but not a boil!) in a sauce pan.
  2. Season, then brown chicken in a grill pan, electric grill or regular grill. Remove and slice into bite-size pieces.
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the shallots to the skillet, soften — about 2 minutes.
  5. Add rice and saffron threads, stirring continuously. Cook for about 15 seconds.
  6. Add lemon juice, stirring continuously. Cook about 30 seconds.
  7. Add broth and wine mixture, 1/2 c. at a time, allowing all moisture to be absorbed between additions. This should take about 30 minutes for all liquid to be added.
  8. Add chicken to rice mixture and stir until chicken is warm throughout, about 2 minutes.
  9. Remove mixture from heat, and stir in whipping cream.
  10. Plate and serve immediately. Sprinkle with fresh parsley as garnish, if desired.
This recipe would work well with any additions in the final stage of cooking. You could add any leftover vegetables or meat that you had available instead of the chicken. The saffron, wine, and lemon provide a nice balance of fruity and savory flavors, so lightly seasoned things would probably work best.

Overall, we were quite pleased with how this recipe turned out. A note of caution: we're not always careful about measuring out all the ingredients before beginning to cook, but this recipe demands it. You do not have an extra hand available to measure ingredients as the risotto requires continuous stirring.

Jim thought this was an excellent recipe and wants to add it to our regular repertoire. Sammy, however, was unimpressed.


Candace said...

I think I had a hand in this! Except it was supposed to be seafood that I voted for... looks delicious nonetheless.

Jane said...

Candace -- We made the seafood risotto first, and Jim liked it so much he wanted it again the next Friday. I don't usually keep fresh seafood in the house since it goes bad so quickly, and neither of us felt like heading to the store, so I pulled the chicken out of my freezer and substituted the clam juice for the white wine, and away we went. It was particularly nice because I had everything else in my pantry (I had a little whipping cream left over from the previous week's recipe, but if not, I'd just use half and half, which you know I always have on hand. -- Jane