A Chicken in Every Crockpot!

Karen's Kitchen Adventures

Chicken with Champagne Risotto and Asparagus September 24, 2010

Filed under: poultry,side dishes,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 7:25 pm
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This one was really very delicious! The champagne in the risotto was a nice kick, though to be honest, I didn’t taste too much of a difference from using wine when it comes down to it. So, if you have champagne at home, by all means, use it. But if you don’t, I don’t really think you need to go run out and buy some to make this recipe either! White wine is great too.

Oh, one more thing. This came from the Rachel Ray magazine website I think, and the original called for a lemon cream sauce to put over the chicken. Well, I don’t know if it is because I tried to be health conscious and used fat free half and half instead or what, but the sauce was watery and NASTY. We didn’t use it, and the recipe was still great! So, I left it out in my directions below. If you are intrigued by the sauce, look it up on the website!

Chicken with Champagne Risotto and Asparagus

3 cups chicken broth
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
Salt and pepper
1 split champagne or sparkling wine
poultry seasoning (about a tablespoon or so)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 pound sliced pancetta, chopped
1 small bunch asparagus, cut on an angle into 1-inch pieces
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
3 to 4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped and chopped

lemon juice (optional)

Method:

In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth over low heat. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the champagne and boil to evaporate slightly, about 2 minutes.

Stir a couple of ladlefuls of warm chicken broth into the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates. Add more broth, a few ladlefuls at a time, reserving 1/2 cup. Cook until creamy, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board (reserving the skillet); add the reserved 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pan juices in the skillet and stir. Stir this liquid into the risotto as it cooks.

In the nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and shallot and cook, stirring, for 3 more minutes.

To serve, stir the cheese and thyme into the risotto and spoon generous portions onto plates. Slice the chicken breasts on an angle and fan out over the risotto. Pour the lemon juice over the asparagus and toss; spoon around the risotto.

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Bacon and Butternut Squash Risotto January 17, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,rice,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 8:32 pm
Tags: ,

I finally made it and it really was heaven! I’ve been dreaming of creating a risotto that included two of my favorite foods, bacon and butternut squash. Finally last night, I went for it! Now I know that others have created the very same dish, as food is just like art: everyone has done everything, and everyone is re-inventing everything. But, it’s still fun to give it a try! A few months ago I made butternut squash and shrimp risotto for my parents and it was okay, but the squash ended up being pulverized by the end of the cooking process, so this time I vowed to change that! How? You ask? Simple, roasted butternut squash, which makes it even more delicious!

bacon and butternut squash risotto!

Now, before you keep reading and are thinking to yourself: “Whatever, she’s crazy! Risotto is scary and hard to make! It takes effort! And time!!” relax! No, really. Risotto is merely scary because it is the unknown. Once you have given it a try, I promise you will be hooked. BUT you do need a fair amount of dedication, and also time. You can not rush the cooking or make it happen quicker. You need a good half hour to kill in the kitchen for it to be delicious. Just a few minutes less can make the rice come out hard and icky. Too long can make it mushy and unpalatable. So make it on a night when you have nowhere to be and plenty of time to babysit the food and you will be thrilled with your hard work. Plus, it makes you look really fancy!

Here is what I did!

Bacon and Butternut Squash Risotto

one medium-sized butternut squash, diced into small, mouth-sized pieces (I buy the pre-chopped kind and then chop it further to save time. NOTE: sometimes you can’t find it fresh, but you can always find it frozen and in that case it is chopped perfectly! There’s no shame in frozen, go for it!)

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

ground sage or chopped sage, whatever you’ve got, about 1 tablespoon

6 slices of a nice hickory bacon if you can find it, cut into small bite sized hunks (you can also opt for turkey bacon if you are cutting calories)

1 shallot, chopped small

1 c. arborio or risotto rice

a nice dry white wine (a few glugs, maybe a cup?)

about 4-5 cups of low sodium chicken broth

a few handfuls of parmesan cheese, plus some to top it off with.

Method:

preheat your oven to 400. Get out a nice mid-sized pot with a heavy bottom for the risotto to cook in. Pour yourself a glass of white wine to enjoy whilst standing over the stove for the next 25 minutes!

Prepare a baking sheet by putting down a layer of aluminum foil and then coating that with cooking spray (I’m lazy, this makes one less dish!) If you didn’t already, chop your squash into small bite sized cubes and throw into a bowl. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and sage, toss to coat evenly. Spread squash out in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about a half hour. Halfway through, take out and give it a shake to keep things from sticking. If you want the squash cooked even further, you can bake it an extra ten minutes or so. I liked it with a little bit of bite, but mike said it could have cooked a few minutes more, so it’s up to you! When the squash is ready, just take it out of the oven and let it sit to cool on the baking sheet until you are ready for it.

While the squash is baking, start the risotto. Heat up the heavy bottomed pot with a medium flame and throw in the bacon. Cook bacon, stirring it frequently, until it is crispy and brown, about 5 minutes (it might have been more, I was drinking wine, who knows!?). When bacon is ready, drain out extra grease, but leave a tiny bit in the pan still with the bacon. Add the risotto and toss with the bacon, lightly cooking the risotto for about 2 minutes. The rice will become slightly translucent. Now deglaze the pan with the wine. Stir rapidly, scraping up all the burnt on bacon bits.

Warm up the chicken broth in a measuring cup in the microwave, about a minute or so. Set a timer for 20 minutes so you have an idea of when to check your rice for done-ness. Add the chicken broth to the rice as soon as the wine is absorbed ONLY ONE CUP WORTH AT A TIME. If you add more than a cup at a time, the rice will not cook correctly and will end up watery and gross! Adjust heat to medium to low and let the broth cook out, stirring occasionally. As soon as the broth is absorbed, add another cup of broth and microwave some more for the next round. Keep adding warmed broth a cup-full at the time until the 20 minutes is up (this usually takes me only four cups of broth but you might need a fifth) . At this time, take a tiny taste of the risotto. If it is a tad hard or crunchy, add the last cup of broth. If it is nice and chewy and sticky, it is perfect! Add that butternut squash that isĀ  roasted and waiting to be eaten, stirring it in and letting the rice cook an extra minute or so. Turn off the flame, add the parmesan and stir. Serve immediately in pretty bowls with extra cheese on top. Pour yourself some more wine too, because you just made super fancy food and it didn’t even take that much time! Enjoy!