Whilst the weather is finally starting to warm up here in Brisbane, and spring might be just about to show her face, there are still nights when its chilly enough that I find myself reaching for some warm comforting and filling food. Risotto is one meal that I can rely on to fill this need, plus it’s versatile and freezes well. Thing is, it takes time to cook so its not a food that I would recommend for someone who doesn’t have the time to invest in getting the right consistency. The risotto will only end up being disappointing. This recipe takes a little longer than normal as you prepare all the ingredients, but the flavours are worth it in my opinion. This is the dish you wait until a wintry wet Sunday to put together with some of your favourite music playing and a glass of wine in hand.
Orange Chicken Risotto
serves approx 6
- 2 cups Aborio rice
- 1 bunch (about a handful) fresh thyme
- 1 medium-sized sweet potato
- 3 medium-sized carrots
- 1/4 Kent pumpkin or 1/2 small to medium butternut
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 onions, diced
- 2-3L chicken stock
- 2 x chicken breasts or approx 5 chicken thighs, cubed
- 150g parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbl sp. orange zest
- approx 4-5 tbl sp. olive oil
Peel and cut your vegetables into bite sized pieces. In a bowl coat the vegetables in olive oil & two crushed garlic cloves. Place onto a baking pan with 1/2 bunch of fresh thyme and roast for approx 30-40 mins, or until browning on the edges. Remove from the oven and rest.
Cut your chicken breasts into cubes and coat with olive oil, approx 2 tbl sp. thyme leaves & 2 crushed cloves of garlic. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and place in the oven and cook for approx 30 mins. If your oven is big enough, cook your vegetables and chicken at the same time as they can then literally come straight out of the oven and into the risotto. If not, then I would recommend cooking your vegetables first and they can cool whilst your chicken is on the go.
When you chicken and vegetables are starting to almost be cooked its time to start putting everything together.
In a large pot cook off you onions in some olive oil over a low heat until translucent. Add your rice and continue to stir for another 2 or 3 minutes. At this point if you want to you could add a little bit of white wine, otherwise spoon in your first ladle of stock. Stir until absorbed by the rice and continue. This will take approx 30 mins with you needing to stir the rice over a low heat as you add the stock. As the risotto cooks it will take longer to absorb, but that is okay & very normal. If you find you need more liquid then add some hot water to your stock to stretch it out,. Taste the rice and if it’s cooked with just a slightly firm centre then its time to add in the vegetables and chicken. Stir and cook for approx another 5 minutes. The rice is ready when it is cooked but is still holding its shape.
Serve hot or freeze to be reheated at a later date.
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating,