Huge bowls of creamy, cheesy risotto (with tender, oven baked, gremolata topped chicken) come at me! Right now! ❤️
Major disclaimer: At this moment in time, writing this post, I am sooooooooo hungry – think, devour an entire bowl of risotto and still feel the hunger, hungry – and life seems
pretty good awesome when I know a bowl of ↓this↑ exciting stuff is coming my way – so puuurhleez excuse me for next few minutes whilst I go EXTREME FOOD BLOGGER on you and give you the 411 of this recipe.
No, srsly, just think about about this recipe. Look at the pictures and see what it means for you. It means you’ll be baking chicken – that’s seasoned with olive oil, herbs and lemon – in the oven whilst, up above on the stove, you will be throwing together a risotto with mushrooms, leeks (plus cheese, bacon and white wine because no one cares about the vegetables when cheese, bacon and wine are involved) before putting it all together in a bowl and spooning over the lemon-y, garlic-y deliciousness that is gremolata.
And that is why this recipe is:
- Comfort food HQ: Chicken and rice with wine, herbs, garlic and cheese. If you look up the definition of “comfort food” this dish here is the visual representation!
- A ?TASTE EXPLOSION?: See above…. ah is this is the stuff foodie heaven is made of people
- The ONLY option (for now) for those busy nights where you want awesome home cooked food but are lacking in the time and enthusiasm departments.
Ummmyeah, this recipe is ticking all the weeknight dinner boxes. I think this should be on the menu every night.
Gremolata Chicken with Leek, Mushroom and Parmesan Risotto 101: This is one of those quick, throw together meals that takes minimal effort and requires little, if any, attention to presentation so you probably won’t want to make this for a dinner party. I mean, you could because it’s totally tasty and delicious and lick-your-bowl until you look like an idiot worthy (↑see ?TASTE EXPLOSION? point above↑) but with a dinner party you have other people eating the food, not just you curled up on the couch, shovelling spoonfuls like there’s no tomorrow whilst catching up on the latest offerings of Netflix (☜ life goals❤️)
And people are picky when it comes to food – even those that dish out the compliments and make all the right “ooohh” “aaaahhhhhh” “yummy” “this is delicious” noises in all the right places. But they’re secretly judging you and your food like its the series final of Masterchef. And we all know someone who has an entire speech prepared about “what makes a good risotto” including several real life examples of of what makes a bad risotto (I generally exclude these sort of people from my dinner party guest lists because comfort-food negativity is something we do not need in this world! Told you Hangry Extreme Food Blogger?)
So I should mention that, when I first made this risotto I committed what I’ve been lead to believe are seriously heinous risotto crimes (somebody call CSI immidietly!) and would probably incite head shakes of dismay and sighs of exasperation from the risotto purists out there.
Heinous Risotto Crime #1 – The Rice:
This recipe was a bit of a last minute, half an hour before dinnertime sort of concoction and when I delved into my pantry to grab the arborio rice I discovered I had none. Plain, white, long-grain rice? Yes. Basmati rice? Yes. Jasmine Rice? Yes. Black Rice? Yes. Brown rice? Yes.
Arborio? No. Why, oh why!?
And so, with the cooking well underway, and my serious case of can’tbebothered-ness preventing me from dashing out to the local store, I used plain old white rice.
Sue me already…
Heinous Risotto Crime #2: The Cooking Liquid
The second crime is not so much the cooking liquid I used (which, by the way, was a 50:50 blend of white wine and chicken stock – but you can use just chicken stock if cooking with wine isn’t your thang) but the way I used it.
You know how most risotto recipes go, right? Add the rice to the pan, cover well in the cooking oil (butter or olive oil) and then add the cooking liquid bit by bit (I find 1/4 cup at a time is the usual measurement) waiting until all the liquid has been absorbed until adding more.
I know this method has its merits for making sure there is little liquid left in the final risotto – I get that. But weeknight comfort food should NEVER (NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!) require constant attention for any longer than 5 minutes at a time. Period.
So I poured the wine in and let it simmer – unattended – for about ten minutes and then poured in the chicken stock and, once again, let simmer unattended for another 10 minutes.
And, you know what? It turned out just as delicious so in your face risotto purists ? (Wow, I really need to eat something!)
And this is the way I shall be making risotto from now on!
So yes, this quick and easy comfort food bowl of a risotto may not be the dish to delight dinner party guests but there is certainly a time and a place for chicken and risotto.
And that time and place is generally ALWAYS and ANYWHERE! Right here right now, if you wouldn’t mind.
I’m thinking a quiet-ish weeknight (is there such a thing?) where you have just enough time (and enthusiasm) to commit 20 minutes of so active prep time in the kitchen. Or a night where you could probably gather the strength and courage to peel yourself from the couch and go and make this because the take-out menu is just not looking that great…
… or the night you have someone else who could go and cook it for you and you can remain on the couch sipping wine and watching Netflix ☜ preferred option.
Gremolata Chicken with Leek, Mushroom and Parmesan Risotto
Prep Time: 10 mins || Cook Time: 30 mins
- 4 medium-sized skinless chicken breasts
- Finely grated rind of 2 lemons + 4 thick lemon slices
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 leek, coarsely chopped (the white part)
- 100g bacon, diced (optional)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (see notes)
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 500ml white wine (see note)
- 500ml chicken stock
- 150g mushrooms, chopped
- 100g parmesan, grated
- 1/3 cup of thickened cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/ 390°F
- Place the chicken breasts on a lined baking tray and season with salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the dried basil. Drizzle over a little olive oil and top each breast with a slice of lemon. Place in the oven for 25 – 35 minutes or until cooked through.
- Heat a large pan or skillet over medium/ high heat and sauté the onion and bacon in a little olive oil until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the leeks and half the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rice and mix thoroughly until well combined.
- Add the white wine and bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat with the chicken stock. Whilst still a little liquid left in the pan, add the mushrooms.
- Once all the liquid has been absorbed add the cheese, cream and remaining dried basil. Stir until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- FOR THE GREMOLATA:In a small bowl combine the parsley, lemon rind and remaining garlic. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and slice into smaller portions. Share the risotto amongst four bowls and top with the chicken breast. Spoon over the gremolata and serve.
- Cooking time also includes inactive simmer time
- Garlic: The amount of garlic is just a guide and can be adjusted to your preference. If you are a garlic loving foodie like me then you may want to put 6 cloves in the risotto and 4 in the gremolata
- Wine: I use expensive(ish) wine for drinking and save the cheap stuff for cooking so any old bottle of white wine will do. In this recipe I used sauvignon blanc. The wine can also be replaced entirely with chicken stock.