Sometimes, life brings you unexpected but happy changes. The last month (or so) of my life has been a series of these, and it has been the main reason for the dearth of posts on this site.
I hope I’m back for the duration, but if things become sparse again, you’ll at least know it’s for good reason.
As I mentioned the other day, it’s not that I haven’t been cooking, eating, or photographing lots of yummy food. In fact, I must have downloaded over 500 photos from my camera the other day. But, do you know how long it takes to browse through and edit 500 photos (not that I’m editing all of them, but still)? Suffice it to say, it’s a process.
I won’t go into all of the details of the many happy changes that have occurred in the recent past, but I will say that one of them is that I’m in a larger, newer kitchen with a bigger stove and oven. And more prep space. And more storage. Yay. It also has a place for my youngest to sit and
help watch me cook.
One of the first things I made in said kitchen was a tasty chicken, mushroom and broccoli risotto.
For years, I’ve been making a version of Paula Deen’s Chicken and Rice Casserole. To be honest, my husband happened to catch an episode of her show that I was watching, and she was making this recipe. He requested it and it has been in our repertoire of weeknight meals in one form or another ever since.
The main variations that I applied were cream of mushroom instead of cream of celery and cooked brown rice instead of long grain and white.
Anyway, it’s tasty, but not exactly the most healthy of meals – what with the cup of mayo, cup of cheese and can of condensed cream soup.
This risotto actually comes quite close to replicating the flavors in the casserole, but it takes half the time and contains only a couple (well, maybe four, to be exact) tablespoons of butter.
That means it’s better for you, I think.
Chicken, Mushroom and Broccoli Risotto
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 30 minutes
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large or 2 small heads of broccoli, cut into florets
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 cooked chicken breasts
Begin by melting 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute until translucent. Add the rice, and stir around until it starts to become opaque in places. Add the mushroom and the raw broccoli.
Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and stir until most of it has been absorbed. Add the remaining stock, one cup at the time, allowing each addition to become absorbed before adding the next. When you get to the final cup, taste the rice to see how done it is – you want it slightly al dente (with just a hint of crunch in the center). Once most of the final cup of stock has been absorbed, remove from the heat and add the last 2 tablespoons of butter and stir through. This will give the dish a nice rich mouth-feel, as well as making it look yummy.