Lemon Chicken and Asparagus Risotto

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Lemon Chicken and Asparagus Risotto
adapted from A Taste of Home Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 4 to 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or water)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Method

Heat the stock over medium heat.

Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and saute until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a bowl and set aside.

Add the other 1/2 tablespoon oil, then add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and saute until barely translucent, about 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine and stir until the rice absorbs it. Add 1/2 cup of stock, stirring frequently, until the rice absorbs the stock; repeat until all stock has been added and the rice is al dente. This process should take about 25 minutes. During the last addition of stock, add the asparagus to cook until tender.

Stir in the scallions, lemon zest, parmesan, basil and parsley. Taste and season with more salt or pepper, if needed. Add the tablespoon of butter along with the reserved chicken, and toss to melt the butter. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

NOTES

During the last three Aprils (i.e., the last three good asparagus seasons), I have attempted to create a one-pot dish involving chicken, lemon, and asparagus with rice, but I couldn’t quite get a final dish to match up to exactly what was in my head. Then my friend Sarah posted this Lemon Chicken Risotto, and I realized – *smacks forehead* – that the answer was making an all-in-one risotto rather than a one-pot served over rice. It seems so obvious now because this is IT. This is what I’ve been aiming for all this time. Spring in a bowl and a recipe for keeps.

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Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheddar Risotto

Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheddar Risotto

Ingredients

1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1-1/2 lb broccoli crowns, chopped into stems and florets
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock, heated
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Method

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a saucepan with a steamer. Add the broccoli to the steamer and cover; reduce heat to medium and let cook for 5 minutes, or until a broccoli floret can just be pierced by a fork. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Heat deep saucepan to medium high. Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the pan and sauté until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a bowl and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion to the chicken fat in the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes, until just soft. Add in salt, pepper, and arborio rice and saute for 2 minutes more.

Reduce heat to medium low. Add wine, scraping the bottom of the pan as you go. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until wine is nearly absorbed. Add in 1 cup chicken stock. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon until stock is nearly absorbed, about 5 minutes. Keep adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring each time until the liquid is almost absorbed, about 3 minutes per 1/2 cup. After about 20 minutes, all the stock should be used and the rice should be tender (taste test a piece). If it isn’t, add another 1/2 cup of water to the pan, stir until absorbed, and check again.

Stir in the reserved chicken and broccoli and toss to heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cheddar and stir through until melted. Let the risotto rest for a minute or two, to thicken, before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

NOTES

Delicious, salty and savory from the cheese – but not overwhelmed by it, and easy as can be. Inspired by this Broccoli and Cheddar Risotto from my friend Sarah and using most of the method from my Chicken Marsala Risotto, this blend of ideas and techniques made for one heckuva weeknight meal. It only took one go at this for Steve and I to agree it needed to be in my permanent archive.

Chicken Marsala Risotto

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Chicken Marsala Risotto

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced or chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock, heated
  • 1 oz. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, defrosted

Method

Heat deep saucepan to medium high. Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the pan and sauté until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a bowl and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic to the chicken fat in the pan. Sauté for a few minutes, until just soft. Add in salt, pepper, thyme and mushrooms. Sauté for a few minutes. Add arborio rice and saute for a few more minutes.

Reduce heat to medium low. Add Marsala wine, scraping the bottom of the pan as you go. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until Marsala is nearly absorbed. Add in 1 cup chicken stock. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon until stock is nearly absorbed, about 5 minutes. Keep adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring each time until the liquid is almost absorbed, about 4 minutes per 1/2 cup. After about 25 minutes, all the stock should be used and the rice should be tender (taste test a piece). If it isn’t, add another 1/2 cup of water to the pan, stir until absorbed, and check again.

When the rice is ready, add the parmesan and stir to melt. Stir in the peas and the reserved chicken and toss to heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Let the risotto rest for a minute or two, to thicken, before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

NOTES

This is just my chicken thyme marsala cream thing reimagined as risotto. I hunted around for a moment to check if anyone had a proper recipe for this specific combination (wanted to check rice/stock ratios) and no one did. Chicken marsala risotto is probably sacrilege or something. Heh. No matter; I just came up with my own recipe.

As you might guess, it was really, really, REALLY good. Yeah. The very first bite got a “wow, oh man!” from Steve, so I’ll take that as a ringing endorsement from his end as well.