Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Microwave Smoked Chicken Risotto

The concept sounds like an abomination, so although my old friend Tania gave me this recipe over a decade ago, I'd never got around to trying it. On a whim, I had a go tonight. Tania's recipe is for a generic risotto - add your own flavours. It's actually surprisingly good. It's not quite as creamy as a stirred one, but perfectly acceptable for a weeknight quickie. Actually, the worst part of it was the cheap supermarket smoked chicken. Poacher's Pantry has spoiled me...
1. heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter on high for 2 min.
2. stir in 1 cup finely chopped onions and stir. Cook on high for 2 min.
3. stir in 1 cup arborio rice and stir. Cook on high for 4 min.
4. add 3 cups stock (the flavour seems to stick better than when cooking on a stovetop, so I generally use one Real Stock and top up the rest with water. Or wine). Cook for 9 min on high.
5. Stir. Cook for another 9 minutes on high.
6. Add cheese. Sit for 5 min (if you can cope). Gobble it down.

The cooking times vary a bit depending on microwave size and phases of the moon. It often needs a couple of minutes extra at the end (perfect for adding some peas or corn). It should be slightly gloppy when you finish cooking, as it absorbs the remaining liquid while sitting. But not sloppy.

My notes:
I kept the 3:1 ratio of stock, but used a full litre of stock. This makes four reasonable serves; so there's leftovers for lunch. Leftover risotto will actually microwave tolerably enough for a work lunch, but it comes out pretty thick and solid; not at all nice and creamy.

In keeping with the slacker nature of this recipe I used a tetrapack of Campbell's Real Stock. I also added 2 cloves of crushed garlic with the rice. Towards the end I tossed in 180g chopped smoked chicken breast and 50g chopped sundried tomatoes. At the cheese stage, I used 50g finely grated grana padano, and I also added a good grind of pepper and a teaspoon of rosemary-in-a-tube.

While it was resting I cooked up some broccolini and asparagus to have on the side. I'd have mixed the asparagus in, but the bloke would object.

1 comment:

infoaddict said...

I use TQ's zap-risotto very regularly - it's cleaner and easier than the stovetop version, and for very plain risottos, it's excellent. Can produce a chalky result if using inferior rice though (I've discovered the difference between Italian arborio rices and some Australian brands, and the Aussie ones lose out bigtime. Riverina is ok, but others are not). Stovetop risottos are more forgiving of lesser rices :)

I made a stovetop one on Sunday and was surprised all over again by how more rich and stickily creamy the stovetop one is, because one can really really slow-cook the initial onion and bacon and garlic before adding the rice. I also use a trick from Neil Perry's cookbook and use a deep covered frypan, rather than a saucepan, to cook in. The wider surface area seems to help the rice absorb more evenly, and it's certainly easier to stir (esp. if you've doubled the quantity, as I always do!).

It took me _years_ to learn how to make a decent risotto. My first-ever attempt, in early 1993, was a gluggy, tasteless, miserable mess, and I didn't make another for a couple of years as a result.

Then I learnt about turning the heat down till it's barely simmering, using good-quality rice, adding ingredients in the correct order, and not overloading it with ingredients.

And the vital importance of NOT adding open-cap mushrooms AFTER the rice ... either cook them early, with the garlic and so on and before adding the rice, and cook out most of the liquid then (and incidentally concentrate the flavour), or cook them separately and add separately, or use much younger mushrooms that have less liquid and add them at the very end. Otherwise, you get grey gluggy risottos.