Friday, 5 August 2011

oven-baked chicken risotto

I was flicking through my iphone photo library this morning, as you do, and I came across three photo's of the oven-baked chicken risotto I made for mum's birthday weekend recently... and now thinking back on it, this dish must have been the very last thing cooked in the old Belleau Kitchen, which is appropriate really given my love of chicken thighs and that this is probably my most popular, fail-safe, group-gathering, dinner-party dish...

it's just so simple to do yet really packs it home on the intense chicken flavour front and with all that amazing risotto rice sucking up the chickeny juices, every fork-full is a silent tribute to how amazing it tastes... and whilst your guests compliment you on the golden roasted and succulent dish you can sit back and chuckle to yourself at how stupidly easy this was to make...!

Oven-Baked Chicken Risotto
the recipe below happily fed 7 greedy middle-class jews with one portion left-over for the next day...which, if you know 7 greedy middle-class jews, you'll know is no mean feat... I used 2 oven-dishes and split the ingredients between the 2.

16 chicken portions - roughly 1 thigh and 2 drumsticks per person
2 large onions - roughly chopped
5 large carrots - roughly chopped
1 punnet of closed cup mushrooms (works out to roughly 3 per person) - roughly chopped
a large hand-ful of frozen peas
2 glasses of white wine or a splash of sherry
500g risotto rice - arborio rice is good
4 pints vegetable stock

- place the chopped veg into an oven roasting dish and lay the chicken pieces on top.  Don't over-crowd the pan, it's better to use two dishes. season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with mixed herbs of your choice and a generous glug or two of olive oil.

- roast in a hot oven (190C) for 40 minutes but turn the chicken halfway through at which point add the wine or a splash of sherry

- after 40 minutes check that the veg has started to roast and the chicken is browning, it may need another 5 to 10 minutes or so and should be full of lovely chickeny juice.

- add the rice, shimmying the chicken aside to make sure all the grains are coated in juice, then add enough of the stock to cover the rice but not all the chicken.  You want to retain some stock for later.

- place the dish back into the oven and roast again for another 30 - 40 minutes or until the rice is tender and the chicken is golden... keep your eye on it as you don't want it to dry out, so keep it topped up during the last 15 minutes or so.

- take it out of the oven and throw in the frozen peas and give it a final stir before serving.

eat and of course, enjoy!



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