I love a good risotto, but for years I could never get it to be really good when I made it myself. That changed a few months ago when Fiona and I stayed with our old friend Jon Wensley, who made a superb chicken and mushroom risotto and walked us through it.
I have now enhanced it (I think) yet further with the addition of chorizo, and I pass it on to you.
- Melt about a dessert-spoon of chicken fat in a large pan. If you don’t have any, you can use vegetable oil or some other less interesting fat.
- Finely slice two big onions, mix them into the melted chicken fat, and fry on medium heat until translucent.
- While that is happening, melt some more chicken fat in a frying pan, and fry three or four rashers of bacon, chopped into lardons.
- When the bacon is done, cut eight thick slices of chorizo, maybe a quarter inch thick, and quarter them into quadrants. Fry them in the fat left over from the bacon.
- By the time the bacon and chorizo are done, the onions should be, too. Add the meats into the onion and add about 300g arborio rice. Mix well, and allow to heat up, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking
- While the rice is starting to cook, cut about 10-20 mushrooms into quarters and fry them in more chicken fat.
- When the rice is hot, add two glasses of white wine. Take a moment to enjoy the sizzle and the aroma.
- When the wine is absorbed, add chicken stock, a ladelful at a time, stirring until absorbed. Check a grain or two every now and then so you know when it’s cooked through.
- When the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat, and add about twice as much butter as you think you should. Beat it vigorously into the rice. This will change the texture of the rice, so it becomes creamy.
- Beat in some grated parmesan cheese, too.
- Sprinkle in about a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and mix it in.
- Add the mushrooms to the rice and mix gently in, reserving a few of the mushroom quarters.
- Add pre-cooked chicken to the rice and mix gently in. You can strip it from a roast-chicken carcass if you have one; otherwise, you should have baked or fried some breast fillets earlier in the process.
- Transfer the completed risotto to an earthenware dish, sprinkle with more grated parmesan, and decorate with the reserved mushroom quarters.
As you can see, when we buy a chicken, we eat it properly. Any meat not consumed on roasting day goes into meals like risotto. The fat that comes off during roasting gets saved and used in other dishes. The bones and skin get simmered to make stock. We feel that, since the chicken nobly gave its life for us, the least we can do is show our respect by eating the whole thing.