Tuesday 13 March 2012

Healthy Mushroom & Chicken Risotto

I am not a big fan of rice dishes, but was tempted earlier today to try a new recipe. A few days back, I had a bit of craving for that wild mushroom soup (not the creamy milky version you so often get in restaurants) and thought it would be good to try making a mushroom sauce based risotto. I had something similar a couple of years back in a restaurant in Holland Village, and wanted to recreate that taste long forgotten.

PREP TIME 15 mins
COOK IN 1 hour (I used brown short grain rice which I believe takes longer to cook, it should cook in half an hour if you use the normal arborio rice for risottos)

Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course


300 gms of fresh mixed mushrooms (packet comprising of portebello, white and brown swiss mushrooms)

200 gms of chicken breast, sliced

Dry white wine, 1 glass or 1/2 glass, as preferred

Vegetable or fish stock, 1 cube or 1/2 cube, as preferred

1 cup brown short grain rice (rightfully, you should use arborio rice)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

Mixed italian herbs (a dash)

Thyme (optional)

Tarragon (optional)

Spring onions / chives (optional)

Parmesan, 1/2 cup shredded

Olive oil, as needed

40 gm butter (optional)

Sea salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste


1. Heat some olive oil over a deep saucepan. Throw in the chopped garlic and onions. Throw in a dash of italian herbs. When the onions turn translucent, throw the uncooked rice in and mix well. Stir for around a couple of minutes until the rice grains appear glassy.
2. Add the wine into the mixture over medium heat and stir, until the wine is more or less absorbed and the flavours develop in the rice grains.
3. On the side, make a stock mixture (of maybe 5-6 cups of water with broken chicken/vegetable stock) and stir 1/2 cup bit by bit into the saucepan with the rice. Once the liquid is more or less absorbed, stir in another 1/2 cup. Repeat this process until the rice grains are cooked al dente (firm yet tender to the bite).
4. On the side, separately marinate the chicken slices with sea salt, pepper and a dash of tarragon (or italian herbs). Fry in olive oil in a saucepan till browned and set aside.
5. Next, fry the mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil and butter (optional). Once the rice grains (cooked separately) are more or less cooked, throw the mushrooms mixture (with butter sauce/oil) into the risotto mixture. Continue cooking on medium low heat and keep on stirring.
6. Once done, stir in the shredded parmesan. Garnish with thyme/chopped spring onions and top with the stir fried chicken. Your risotto is ready for consumption!

1. I wanted my risotto to be steeped in the wild mushroom sauce. I used a blender to blend half of the mushrooms very finely. For the other half I had I chopped them roughly, for texture in the risotto. This can be adjusted depending on your reference.
2. Though most risotto recipes call for cream and cheese, I left the parmesan out this time, on request from the husband. I used butter though when I fried the mushrooms, as all cooks know, it gives an instant great flavour to any dish. If you are health conscious, use either butter to fry the mushrooms or top your risotto with parmesan, but not both. Either one is enough to give your risotto a great taste. Still the flavours were fully developed and this is a recipe I will return to again.
3. Keep on stirring - it's very important not to overcook or undercook the rice grains. However, it is not wise to pour too much water into the saucepan at any one time in your bid to cook the rice grains. The technique is to pour in half a cup at a time, and to keep on stirring until most of the liquid water is absorbed, and then re-adding in the next half a cup of water. You have to be there when it's cooking. Making risotto is a laborious process, but well worth it if that's what you are craving at the moment! You need lots of patience.
4. Because I used brown rice (short grain) but not the usual arborio rice, I took around an hour, longer than anticipated. For some reason, it took a really long time to cook. Most risotto recipes wherein the arborio rice is used have a cooking time of 35 minutes.

No comments: