Saturday, August 8, 2009

Risotto with Chicken and Caramelized Onions

Risotto is a dish that has become very popular in the recent years and it's popularity has come from nowhere.  As I've seen more and more recipes for risotto I've become fascinated with it and have been dying to try it.  It just seems to be such a versatile dish and it's one of those that can go so many different ways and there can be so many flavor variations. 

I have seen many recipes for risotto and there are many that I want to make but I came across one that jumped out at me from Williams-Sonoma and I knew I had to try it.  I liked this recipe because it had the meat in the risotto so it could be served as the main course and a side at one time.  Another reason I liked this recipe to start with is because there wasn't a whole lot to it, it seemed to have the basic ingredients and that was it.  This was the perfect starter recipe. 

This risotto turned out so good.  I wasn't really sure how it was going to turn out, especially with it being my first time to make it but I was really happy with the outcome.  I did make a couple of changes to the recipe, but nothing that was too drastic.  All the flavors blended together perfectly.  I will definitely be making this recipe again as well as trying other risotto recipes.

Risotto with Chicken and Caramelized Onions


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 sweet white onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 leek, white portion only, cut into 1-inch pieces (I omitted the leeks simply because I didn't have any on hand)
1 cup Madeira wine, at room temperature (instead of white wine I used apple juice)
9 to 10 cups chicken stock
3 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (see Note)
*** I boiled chicken and then added onion powder, pepper and a little salt and then cubed it.
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Add the onions and leeks and saute until the onions are golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Add the Madeira and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits.  Cook until liquid is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat. Add 1 cup of the simmering 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 more. Set aside.

While the onions simmer, in another large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the rice and stir until each grain is well coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes.

Add the simmering stock a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next ladleful. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to add at the end.

When the rice is tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy, after about 20 minutes, stir in the chicken. Cook to heat through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, caramelized onion mixture and reserved 1/4 cup stock. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 6.


Note: Use leftover roasted chicken (see related recipes at right) or poached chicken breasts. To poach chicken breasts, put 2 to 3 bone-in breast halves in a large saucepan and add lightly salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Risotto, by Pamela Sheldon Johns (Simon & Schuster, 2002 ).

Recipe source: Williams-Sonoma

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