Monday, September 1, 2008

Risotto with Chicken & Caramelized Onions Recipe

Risotto with Chicken & caramelized Onions

The other day I was perusing through a friend's cookbook (The Return of the Naked Chef by Jaimie Oliver) when I came across a Basic Risotto recipe. I hadn't made risotto in a very long time and the idea hit the spot. There was something in the way Jaimie wrote out the recipe that made it sound not only delicious, but easy as well.

Par for the course of living on a boat in a foreign country; I didn't have all the ingredients. I also wanted something different than just the basic risotto, so I ended up bastardizing and combining his recipe along with a recipe from Williams-Sonoma Risotto cookbook. The result was unbelievable (I even surprised myself). The risotto was the perfect balance of creaminess and the balsamic flavored caramelized onions were like flavor bursts exploding with every bite! Best yet, it was just as good cold the following day for lunch!

1/2 cup olive oil
2 sweet white onions (or whatever you have, I used one white and one red), sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 cup Madeira wine* (see note), at room temperature
approx 1.5 liters (roughly 6 cups) chicken stock
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (good use of leftover roasted or poached chicken).
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt & Freshly ground Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese (optional)

About Madeira Wine
Madeira is a fortified wine from Portugal. If, like me, you don't have Madeira wine available you can substitutes any of dry port, sherry or Marsala wines. You can also substitute a dry red wine, but the dish will be noticeably different as it will lack some of the complex flavors that Madeira provides. If you have the time, another choice is to use a mixture of reduced balsamic vinegar and red wine (or if you want to avoid alcohol use a mixture of reduced balsamic vinegar and chicken stock). Reducing the balsamic vinegar will cook off some of its acidity and increase the complexity of flavors. This adds an extra step to the process but the result is fabulous:

1. Reduce 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until is is about half its original volume and has started to become syrupy.

2. Combine with enough red wine or chicken stock to make one cup and set aside.

Risotto Steps

Caramelized Onions:
1. In a large, heavy pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until the onions turn golden brown, about 15 minutes (stir occasionally to prevent burning).

2. Add the Madeira (or better yet the balsamic-wine mixture) and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Cook over medium-high heat to reduce the liquid by half.

3. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, heat the stock.

4. Add 1 cup of hot stock to the onion mixture and continue to cook over medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced and the mixture is quite thick, about 15 minutes. (Stir occasionally). While the onions are simmering start the risotto.

1. In a heavy saucepan heat the other 1/4 cup olive oil, add the shallots and garlic, and fry slowly for about 4 minutes. When they have softened add the rice and turn up the heat.

2. Keep stirring until each rich grain is well coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the first ladle of stock and a healthy pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a high simmer. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring gently, and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to add at the end. When the rice is tender to the bite, but slightly firm and looks creamy (roughly 15 minutes) stir in the cooked chicken. Heat through, about 1 minute.

4. Remove from the heat and add the caramelized onion mixture, butter, and 1/4 cup stock. Stir gently. Cover and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes.

Serve promptly with grated Parmesan (optional).
Serves 4-6


Welcome to My Galley, where you'll find an array of recipes and food bits. Having traveled to 23 countries in the last five years I lean towards Intl cuisines, but you'll find a few home-town favorites as well.
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