Quick and Easy Chicken Risotto Recipe
This really is a quick and easy chicken risotto recipe that even the most inexperienced cook can manage, and it tastes great!.
What better way to use up leftover roast chicken, than to turn it into a risotto. Risotto is just a fancy sounding name for rice. The Italians probably think we are mad to even consider the word risotto to be exotic, when it's something they eat every day, or maybe every second day because they are quite well known for their fondness of pasta.
I made this recipe up years ago when I didn't even know what a risotto was. When I first lived in an student flat, long before I got married, we used to live off rice and vodka. We never had any money for food, so we quickly learned a thousand and one ways to cook rice and make it interesting.
Ah those halcion days are long gone! We couldn't even afford chicken in those days, so we used to make rice dishes with curry powder, and packet stock, and dried vegetables and all sorts.
Tasted great too! What more do you need?
These days were long gone by the time I got married, and it was early in my marriage I discovered this great way to use up chicken and make it all taste more interesting.
The great thing about the ingredients list is that quantity doesn't really matter for anything except for the rice.
Just make sure you have enough rice for each person who you are going to be feeding.
No idea the weight.
I used to know just by looking that I had enough, but basically going by dry weight, you should serve 2 oz per person.
I had a little teacup for measuring that seemed to do the trick when serving smaller numbers than usual. You, I am afraid, are going to have to experiment.
What you want to make sure you have in the cupboard is:
- rice (obviously) long grain, or whatever was the cheapest in the shops at the time
- chicken (cooked)
- a red or a green pepper
- a can of pineapple slices/pieces/chunks whatever
- chicken stock
- bacon or ham
- olive oil for cooking
- dark soy sauce
If you are a color freak and you want more color, add thinly sliced carrots if you are using a green pepper, or peas if you using a red pepper. Or even add a whole host of vegetables that you and your family like.
The amounts again of each ingredient is left entirely to the imagination, except for maybe the salt.
Don't put more than 1 teaspoon in which should be enough unless you are feeding the cast of thousands.
1 teaspoon of salt should certainly be enough if you are feeding up to 8 people.
If you accidentally put too much salt in, you can add a whole potato to the pan which will absorb the salt.
Discard before serving.
Now this really is a quick and easy meal and takes the time it takes to cook rice (about 15 minutes), plus a few minutes for vegetable preparation.
In a large heavy based frying pan, put in your chopped vegetables and bacon or ham with some olive oil.
Now you can chop yourveggies fine so they are small, which is probably a better idea if you are feeding fussy children, or into big chunks if you are feeding fussy men.
In the photos accompanying this recipe, I have chopped the vegetables big so that a certain person can pick them out if he so chooses.
Fry the veggies for a few minutes under a gentle heat to soften but not brown, then add the dry rice.
When the rice grains turn pearly white, add your stock.
Again I have no idea how much because I add ladles from the stock I would have made overnight from the bones of the chicken I stripped after the previous day's meal.
I think if I remember correctly, for every 8oz dry weight of rice, you should use 1 pint of stock or water.
If you salted your stock when preparing it, don't add more salt in.
This is very important. It will be too salty then.
If you haven't made stock and only have stock cubes to hand, just prepare your stock cube as normal, but don't add salt.
Proprietary stock cubes tend to be very salty.
If you have no stock cubes, nor stock, use water and salt.
When it is all bubbling away, make sure the heat under the pan is low and put a lid on it if you have one - just means less cleaning later.
Go and do something else for about 10 minutes.
Keep an eye on the time.
No honestly, that bit is important. I have walked away and half an hour later been aware of a burning smell coming from the kitchen area. Just forgot!
When you return, you want to see that almost all of the liquid has absorbed into the rice.
Now is a good time to add the chopped up chicken pieces you stripped off the night before. They are cooked already so all you are really doing is heating them up. Don't forget to add back your vegetables if you took them out.
Mix them in a bit and close the lid while you chop up your pineapple, assuming you didn't buy ready chopped chunks.
Add them in, with about half of the juice from the can.
I hope at this point you remembered to buy pineapple in their natural juices and not in the syrup which has added sugar. No matter, if it has sugar just put a teeny-weeny bit of the juice in, unless you like your dinner really sweet.
Mix that in, gently so as not to damage the rice grains, then add about a tablespoonful of dark soy sauce if you have any in. If you don't, it doesn't matter too much.
Turn the heat off from under your pan and serve.
Footnote: I've just learned (because I tried it) that adding about 2 teaspoonfuls of lemon juice to the rice dish and mixing well in just before serving, really brings out the flavors.