Risotto is a classic comfort food, rich and creamy, and a wonderfully warm meal on a cold winter night. Risotto is also very versatile; it can be custom-made to suit your entire family and is a great way to use leftovers and get children to try vegetables they might not otherwise try.
Making risotto involves the slow addition of liquid and frequent stirring to coax the starch from the rice. When buying rice to make risotto, choose short- to medium-grained round or semi-round rice, such as Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano.
Arborio is the most commonly used and widely available rice for making a very creamy risotto, and that's what we are using in our recipe. Enjoy!
CREAMY CHICKEN & CRAB RISOTTO
3-4 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup Arborio rice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
To prepare the rice:
Heat some homemade chicken broth in a pot on the stove. You are going to use about 3 to 4 times as much liquid as dry rice. Keep the broth warm, but not boiling.
In another large, heavy saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the Arborio rice and stir briskly with a wooden spoon over medium heat, coating the grains of rice. Cook for just a few minutes. Slowly begin to add the broth, one ladle at a time, stirring frequently until the stock is absorbed, then add another ladle full. Continue until the risotto is almost tender to the bite, but slightly firm at the center. This will take approximately 20 minutes.
You can spread the risotto out on a cookie sheet to cool and refrigerate for later use or hold while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces chicken breast
4 ounces lump crab meat
2 cups cooked risotto
10 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cooked broccoli florets
3 ounces sherry
6 ounces heavy cream
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour for dusting
Dust chicken with flour and sautĂ© in olive oil for 4-5 minutes on each side until chicken is fully cooked. Discard oil and add shallots and garlic to the pan. Brown for a minute or so and then deglaze pan with sherry. Remove chicken to a plate. Add all remaining ingredients, except Parmesan. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until a smooth texture is reached. Add Parmesan and serve in a shallow bowl. Top with chicken.
To learn more about cooking, you might want to attend one or two winter cooking demonstrations at Cork next month. Romantic Foods for Valentine's Day is the topic Feb. 6 ($15), and Gluten-Free Baking will be Feb. 21 ($10). Both demos begin at 7 p.m. at Cork, 463 Madison St., Wilkes-Barre.
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