Risotto follows roast chicken almost always in our house. Once the chicken is more or less stripped of breast meat I boil the carcass to create a stock. I have a slightly ‘war time’ attitude to waste. Being only a generation removed, and the oldest child of a single mother my conscience will not allow me to throw it away… Actually, there’s something quite romantic for me about the idea of generations of women making the most of food, not wasting anything… And the wisdom of those women knowing (without the science we now have) how good it is for their families, from keeping colds and flu at bay to soothing the gut and making hair shine! Read more about the health benefits of home-made chicken stock here. There are plenty of recipes on-line for making your own. Mine really is very simple:
Chicken Stock from a roast chicken:
Place the carcass in a large pan. Cut it down if it’s still in one piece. Cover with water, bring to the boil, put the lid on the pan and simmer for at least an hour. Strain off the water into a plastic jug, cool and store in the fridge for 2-3 days. The stock will also freeze really well!
Ingredients for the Risotto (serves 2):
100g shitake mushrooms
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (actually tonight i used rose as that’s all I had)
800mls chicken stock
1 celery heart
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 sprigs of Thyme
salt & pepper
1. Put the chicken stock in a pan on a low heat to keep warm. If you don’t have chicken stock use 1 tsp marigold vegetable bouillon in 800mls water.
2. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan or wok and add the chopped onion and celery. The inside, slightly yellow leafy part is especially delicious. Soften for around 10 mins.
3. Add a cup of arborio rice and stir on a high heat until translucent (a couple of minutes)
4. Pour in a cup of wine and turn down the heat to simmer.
5. Add the thyme.
6. Stir regularly as the rice absorbs the liquid, and gradually add cups of warm stock as the liquid reduces. Keep stirring so the rice doesn’t stick.
7. Roughly chop the mushrooms and add to the rice with the stock.
8. Simmer, stir and continue to add stock until the rice is cooked through (approx 20-30 mins)
9. If you run out of stock before the rice is done just add water.
10. When the rice is cooked through the liquid should have been absorbed.
11. Turn off the heat, shave Parmesan on top and leave to stand for a few minutes.
12. Serve immediately! If there’s any left over tomorrow it’ll be arancini for lunch! Yum!