Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂
Dangerous Chicken Risotto Recipe
I like to push my limits in most of what I do, improving running times, learning new skills at work and indeed in the kitchen, but today I went out of my comfort zone by quite some margin. It’s been a while since I did a recipe post so I thought I’d share one of my favourite every day meals, a really simple risotto. I love risotto, unctuous rice cooked with nice straightforward ingredients, it’s a perfect comfort food dinner (this is indeed a veiled way of saying you don’t lose weight eating it) but it has one drawback, it takes ages. I do enjoy this dish ever so much but I hate standing stirring the risotto and adding stock bit by bit for ages, however good the result.
So, I was stoked when I heard that it’s possible to cook risotto hands off for 7 minutes, then not so stoked when I found out how, in a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers have been around for a long time and seemed to really be in a heyday in the late 70s and early 80s, a dark time in our culinary history. The theory is that the pressure cooker allows pressure to build inside it and food cooks in a superheated steam. This is really my concern, combining my accident prone nature with a pressurised vessel in my kitchen is essentially like giving a monkey a hand grenade to play baseball with. So I’ve had a pressure cooker for some years, but avoid using it wherever possible due to a deep rooted fear of explosions in my kitchen. However, risotto in 7 minutes was too much to ignore, so here we are. If you don’t have a pressure cooker they are still pretty easily available, you can even get electric ones that don’t sit on the hob. I would imagine that it’s pretty easy to find old ones at car boot sales if you look, just make sure you get a new seal fitted (available cheaply as a spare part).
So putting aside my fear of dying, let’s get on with the recipe. As I said, it’s very simple. Feel free to experiment with flavours here, add bits, take bits out, whatever.
225g Arborio rice (this is 1 1/4 cups)
Chicken stock 2 1/2 cups (nicer the stock, nicer the end result)
1 big onions or 2 small ones
4 cloves garlic
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon (this is another big flavour component, so you don’t need pancetta but a nice dry cured streaky is preferable)
2 chicken breasts
50g grated parmesan
- Chop onions into a fine dice, risotto is about texture more than anything, it does not benefit from massive chunks of stuff, take the time here, it’ll pay
- Chop garlic really finely, great big chunks of garlic are not welcome in this dish
- Slice up bacon to preference, for me, I like thin strips so that they are visible in the dish but not obtrusive
- Dice chicken breast
- Get your pressure cooker on the hob praying to your deity of choice as you do so.
- Pour in about a tablespoon of oil and a knob of butter, the former for frying, the latter for flavour
- Turn on a medium heat until the butter has melted.
- Add bacon and onion, fry until onion is translucent. This stage is important, if the onions go under pressure raw they’ll come out equally raw and that does not a happy risotto make.
- Add your chicken and fry off, this is why smaller bits are ideal, the chicken has to be properly cooked before moving on
- Add garlic, fry for a minute or so
- Add your risotto rice, stir through the mixture and watch for the rice to go translucent, it will then go back to white, once it is white again we’re ready to get going
- Optional extra step:
- Here, if you like, you can add a glass of white wine, I don’t as I don’t take alcohol and the recipe is fine without it, but it’s a personal choice. If you do add it, pour it in and let it bubble off before moving on
- Now pour in the stock, mix through and close up the pressure cooker. Turn the hob to maximum heat. If you alter quantities in the recipe, the stock has to be twice the amount of rice by volume. Keep the stock warm if possible as it’ll absorb better
- Most pressure cookers have a little button that raises when up to pressure, when you see this turn the heat down as far as you can without the button dropping.
- Once the button is up, set a timer for 7 minutes and retire to a safe distance
- When the timer goes, turn the heat off and use the relief valve on the pressure cooker to let the steam out (no relief valve, you’re kinda screwed I think, ask youtube maybe?)
- Once the risotto is out of the pressure cooker stir through the parmesan and eat noting how sweet things taste when you haven’t just had a pressure cooker explode and spray your kitchen with burning hot rice and shrapnel
As you can see when I served this it could have done with about an extra minute in the pressure cooker. So I would revise to say 7-10 minutes in the pressure cooker.
Stay tuned for next week as no doubt I’ll be doing something equally stupid (like making salad over a volcano or something).