The all-time-no-argument-ever-about-it-favourite-meal-at-Palazzo-Josamina-is ... risotto.
No matter what flavour combo I come up with - it's a winner with all of us hand's-down. Thank God rice is not laden with gluten - that would have been way to cruel to cope with when Monty and I finally had our coeliac diagnoses confirmed!)
As I have been away for almost two weeks, I knew it was just a matter of time before I needed to whip one up. I managed to get to day two of my return to the kitchen before M begged for one for dinner.
This combo was a winner, if I do say so myself.
I pulled together left-over roasted organic chicken and sweet potato from dinner the night before, added in some home-grown organic Exeter Meyer lemon juice and zest*, home-made organic chicken broth and some baby peas. (As a rule I ignore the memo from B that he is not a fan of peas - I figure if I just keep adding them into meals here and there, he'll be broken down eventually!)
Big call - but I believe peas add an extra flavoursome dimension to almost any dish - just as basil complements tomato with such finesse. (Just saying so you know ... I would never partner up peas with mushrooms - ew - that would just not work!).
I love making risotto - it takes time, love and patience. You need your stock to be bubbling away ready to add ladle by ladle to the bubbling risotto as you stir, stir, stir it in slowly.
Here's how I stirred this one to life ...
4 tablespoons coconut oil
3 organic chicken breast fillets, trimmed, cut into 2 cm pieces (I used the equivalent amount of shredded left-over roasted organic chicken)
1 large red onion, cut into thin slices
300 g sweet potato (kumara), cut into 1.5 cm cubes (I used the equivalent amount of left-over roasted organic kumara)
5 cups organic chicken stock
400g Arborio Risotto Rice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup fresh organic baby peas
½ cup finely grated Parmesan
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, warmed through
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup chopped fresh continental parsley
Salt & ground black pepper, to taste
Heat half the coconut oil in a large heavy based frying pan over a medium heat and cook the chicken, onion and sweet potato in 2 batches, turning occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until browned and just cooked. Remove and keep warm. (If using leftovers, heat through gently and set aside.)
Bring the chicken stock just to the boil in a separate saucepan. Reduce heat and keep stock at a gentle simmer.
Add the remaining coconut oil, rice and garlic to the frying pan and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until the rice is well coated with the oil and looks slightly glassy.
Add a ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the simmering stock and stir over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed.
Continue to add simmering stock, a small ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more. Start tasting after about 18 minutes - it will probably take about 20-25 minutes to cook. Cook until the rice is tender but firm to the bite and risotto is creamy
Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, Parmesan and half the parsley and then season with salt and pepper. Gently fold through the chicken, onion and sweet potato.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with remaining parsley.
Enjoy every last, delectable mouthful and start thinking about the next flavour combo you'll stir to perfection!