May 7, 2013

Herbed Risotto with Caramelized Onions, Peas, and Chicken


I really don't have a whole lot to say about this dish apart from letting you know how fantastic it was.  Creamy risotto, sweet peas, buttery and delicious caramelized onions, chicken thrown in for good measure - it was a truly delicious.

This is a risotto that doesn't have to be stirred nearly constantly, which is so nice.   It still delivers that same texture profile that you would expect from a more traditional risotto, though.  I caramelized the onions earlier in the day (on Annie's recommendation) so that dinner came together a little faster.  I also cooked and shredded the chicken while the onions were caramelizing.  By breaking the steps down, it all came together pretty quickly in the end.  It may be ideal to make this entire dish right at dinnertime on a weeknight meal, but with a little planning, you can definitely have this on your table after a busy workday!  


Herbed Risotto with Caramelized Onions, Peas, and Chicken
Printable Version

1½ tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
Pinch of sugar
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 lb. skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
juice from ½ lemon
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and patted dry
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 tbsp. minced fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste

1. In a large skillet set over medium-low heat, add 1½ teaspoons of the olive oil. Once hot, add onion and sugar, stirring to coat. Allow to cook until deeply browned, stirring often, 45 minutes-1 hour. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the chicken broth and water. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to keep warm.
3. Return the pan that contained the onions to the stovetop and set over medium-high heat. Add remaining olive oil to the pan and season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add chicken to the hot pan and cook through, turning once, about 7 minutes per side (depending on size of chicken breasts). Remove to a plate and tent with foil.
4. Set a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat and add the butter. Allow butter to melt and then add garlic, cooking only until fragrant while stirring often, about 30 seconds.
5. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat. Allow rice to toast and turn translucent around the edges, stirring often, for 3 minutes. 6. Add the wine to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until fully absorbed, 2-3 minutes. Stir 5 cups of warm broth mixture into the rice. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer. Allow to cook until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is al dente, 16-19 minutes. Stir twice during cooking.
6. Add ¾ cup of the hot broth mixture to the cooked risotto and stir gently and constantly until the risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes. Add in the Parmesan and lemon juice and then remove the pot from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
7. While the risotto sits, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add the caramelized onions, chicken, and peas into the risotto along with the parsley and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If needed, add up to ½ cup of the remaining broth mixture to add moisture and loosen the texture. Serve immediately.

originally from Cook's Illustrated May/June 2010, slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

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