Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

Is there anything more blissful than standing at the stove with your daughter, perched on a stool, just because she truly wants to learn all the secrets of her mum’s cooking?!

Risotto is one of those dishes that definitely has a few tricks to it.

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Risotto is one of those all time classic meals that everyone has a crack at but, I know certainly in my case, never quite nailed it like the Nonna’s. That is until I learnt a couple of tricks of the trade which I will now share with you so we can all make fabuliciouz risotto in our very own home kitchens.

The very first trick, which is the one that changed everything for me, is to never make risotto in a saucepan! Earth shattering, I know! That’s the one mistake I was making every time & once I knew that, the difference in the creaminess of my risotto was mind blowing.

As it was explained to me, saucepans have depth which causes the rice to cook unevenly so you never quite achieve the right consistency in your risotto. The solution? Always use a large, flat frypan so the rice cooks more evenly. That’s it! That’s the #1 secret trick to an awesomely creamy risotto!

Right, let’s get cracking on with how to make my Chicken & Mushroom Risotto……

So, grab a small to medium saucepan to gently heat up 1 litre of chicken stock over the lowest heat possible. This is another risotto trick, always warm your stock that you’ll be adding into your rice.

Next, heat up a good glug of oil to fry off a teaspoon of minced garlic along with 500g of diced chicken thigh, remember to season well with salt & white pepper. As the chicken is getting towards the end of cooking, bung in some sliced mushrooms, about 10 smaller ones or maybe half a dozen if they’re a wee bit bigger. Once fully cooked, set that pan aside.

Right, now for the star of the show! Whack down that large, flat frypan in prime position & give it a couple of tablespoons of butter (use the real stuff otherwise you’re risotto will just have oil in it). Melt that nicely over a medium heat & then fry off a teaspoon of garlic & a finely diced onion. Add in 2 cups of rice (Arborio is traditional but Jasmine works just as well) & toss that around until it turns nicely translucent, usually takes about a minute but be careful not to let it start toasting to turn brown.

Here’s another trick – you have just become absolutely chained to your stove. All will be well if you have somebody, in my case hubby, within screeching distance to fill up your wine glass for you over the next half hour or so.

Ever so slowly start adding in the warmed stock, one ladle at a time. The first one sizzles so pants on people! The trick is to stir constantly! This is why you are now chained to the stove. Make sure all the liquid has been completely absorbed by the rice before adding the next ladle of stock. Just think of all the love going into this meal. 

Once all the stock has been absorbed by the rice, add in the cooked chicken & mushroom. Here’s another flavour packed trick! Treat all that mushroom juice that’s been slowly let out whilst they’ve been resting just like you did the stock. Keep right on stirring until the rice has absorbed it all.

And finally, throw in a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese to stir through, about 1/2 cup should be enough but we love our cheese so I always put in more. Mix it all up really well & It’s Chompin Time!

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