Rosemary & Lemon Chicken Risotto

There’s one rule in our house when it comes to making dinner: If in doubt, cook a risotto.

I am confident that we will always the ingredients in the cupboard to make a perfectly serviceable dinner using this approach. Do you find that you always pick up something when you go to the supermarket whether you need it or not? It feels like arborio or carnaroli rice are on that subsconscious list for me! As are parmesan and onions. Oh and everyone keeps a bottle of wine around for emergencies, don’t they?

With that in mind, I know that I could go home now and cook a risotto for at least four people without needing to go via any shops. It might be a little basic but it would be possible.

Having the “risotto backstop” option in the kitchen at all times means that I can also change my mind about dinner at the last minute. I didn’t originally plan to make this Lemon and Rosemary Chicken into a risotto when I did the weekly shop. I had visions of crunchy, griddled chicken thighs served on top of creamy mashed potato.

But when it came to cooking it I just wasn’t in the mood for mash and this happened instead. It was so tasty that I wrote the recipe down as soon as we’d finished eating and here it is:

Beautifully moist chicken thighs, with a subtle hint of lemon and the richness of rosemary, stirred through a creamy risotto. I added in a few cherry tomatoes for colour, texture and flavour as they were in the fridge. The somewhat excessive dollop of crème fraîche was added for the same reason. Strictly speaking it was creamy enough, thanks to the starch from the rice, but why not treat yourself now and then.

Who knows what my next risotto recipe will contain? I guess it all depends on what’s in the fridge or the cupboards at the right time…


Rosemary and Lemon Chicken Risotto

Sharp lemon with deep herbal rosemary, brought together in a rich and creamy risotto.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Marinating Time1 hr
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Poultry, Rice
Servings: 2

Ingredients

for the Chicken

  • 350 g Free Range Chicken Thigh Fillets
  • 1 Lemon juiced and zested
  • 1 sprig Rosemary leaves removed from stalk and chopped
  • ½ tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
  • 1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

for the Risotto

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1 sprig Rosemary leaves removed from stalk and chopped
  • 150 g Arborio Rice
  • 100 ml Vermouth or Dry White Wine
  • 500 ml Chicken Stock or plain hot water will be fine
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 12 Cherry Tomatoes halved and seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp Crème Fraîche
  • 20 g Parmesan Cheese grated

Instructions

  • Put the chicken thigh fillets into a ziplock bag (or large bowl) then add the chopped rosemary, lemon (juice and zest), paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well then allow to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour in the fridge.
  • Put a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade then add to the pan. Sear for 5 minutes on one side, then turn over and repeat on the other side. Continue to fry for a further 5 minutes until cooked through. Remove to a side plate and cut into large chunks.
  • Meanwhile combine the lemon juice and chicken stock in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down and keep it warm.
  • Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pab that was used to cook the chicken. Add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes until soft and tender, add in the garlic and rosemary then fry for a further minute before removing from the pan and keeping to one side. Leave as much oil in the pan as you can.
  • Turn the heat up to medium-high and add in the rice. Stir it in the oily mixture until it's well coated and the ends of each grain have gone slightly translucent. Pour in the vermouth, or wine - it will bubble vigorously but you want to keep stirring the rice constantly until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Add a generous ladle of the stock mixture to the pan, whilst continuing to stir the rice constantly as it absorbs the liquid. When almost all of the stock has been absorbed add another ladle to the pan, and so on. You may not need all of the stock - so proceed with caution to avoid making the risotto too wet. It should take around 18 minutes for the rice to be cooked through
  • When the rice is almost cooked, but still retaining a little bite add the onion mixture back to the pan, along with the chicken and chopped cherry tomatoes. This will add some moisture to the risotto and may affect the amount of stock required in the last couple of minutes. 
  • When the rice is tender and cooked through remove the pan from the heat and stir through the crème fraîche and half of the parmesan to give a rich, creamy sauce.
  • Serve into bowls and top with the remaining parmesan cheese.

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