Chicken with Wild Mushroom Risotto

The secret to making great risotto is that you have to stand over it and stir it constantly. It is about a 25 minute commitment and it will quickly stick to the bottom of the pan if you don’t pay attention. The end result of all your hard work is a wonderfully creamy dish that will still be just a touch al dente. A couple of essential tricks to making properly are to reduce the white wine au sec (almost dry) with the sweated onion, shallots and rice. The reduction really sweetens it up and loses a lot of the alcohol taste. Also make sure to add the butter and parmesan cheese when it is totally finished cooking. At the last minute, fold it in. That takes it over the top. You can add your favorite vegetable at the end so the risotto stays white. I like to add mushrooms or do it with asparagus and Meyer lemon. And another thing, don’t be cheap on the cheese! Use real Parmesano Reggiano, the salt crystals in the cheese add another layer of flavor to this great dish. Make this for someone you love tonight.

Bon Appétit
Chef Michael

Ingredients:
Serves 4

For the Risotto:
1 cup risotto (Arborio rice)
4 cups chicken broth or water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, minced
2 shallots, minced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 clove garlic, minced
1 leek, white part only, minced
1/2 cup Parmesano Reggiano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
Chives, garnish

For the Chicken:
4 – 8 oz, chicken breasts, skin on

For the Mushroom Broth:
1 cup dried mushrooms
2 cups water

For the Asparagus:
16 pieces, jumbo asparagus, peeled

Directions:

For the Risotto:
In a small saucepan, bring stock to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. In a different medium saucepan, over medium heat add olive oil and sauté onion, shallot and leek until translucent but not browned. Add garlic and risotto, stir for one minute. Deglaze with white wine and reduce until almost dry. Turn up heat to medium high and add 1/2 cup of warm stock or water and stir with wooden spoon, scraping bottom constantly. As liquid evaporates add another cup and keep stirring and adding liquid for about 22-25 minutes. Do not stop stirring or rice will stick to the pot and burn! Risotto is done when rice is creamy and tender – but not mushy. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, stir in softened butter and grated cheese. Garnish with chopped chives.

For the Chicken:
Heat oven to 500’F. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat ovenproof medium sauté pan until almost smoking. Add 3 Tbsp oil and place chicken breasts skin side down and lower heat to medium. Cook skin side down until it starts to brown about 5 minutes. Flip chicken skin side up and place in oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and reserve.

For the Mushroom Broth:
Take dried mushrooms and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until reduced by 75%. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain and save broth. Chop mushrooms and reserve.

For the Asparagus:
Peel asparagus and blanch in boiling salted water for approximately 3 1/2 minutes until tender. Remove and place in ice bath. This process “shocks” the color into the vegetable so it stays vibrant when you heat it up. Warm up in a little water, butter and salt and pepper.

To Assemble:
In 4 large bowls, place a scoop of risotto mixed with mushrooms, top with asparagus, then chicken. Pour mushroom broth around risotto. Serve immediately.

If you are too busy to make this dish yourself, you can always hire Chef Michael Thompson to make it for you in your home. Contact him at 732. 948. 2352 or michael @ chefmichaelthompson.com

 

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