Chicken and Capsicum Risotto

Now first off, I am going to confess that I make risotto on the “that looks about right” principle.  So the measurements I am giving you may not be exactly the same as in this photo.  Every now and then I actually cook by the recipe because I tend to stray further and further away from it, but often I just “throw in” whatever is handy.  Although this time I used leftover bbq chicken, I have also used ham, or just forsaken meat altogether.

This is the recipe I tend to make if I have forgotten to take anything out of the freezer – the basis of this recipe is the jar of fire-roasted capsicums and arborio rice, so I just make sure I always have those in the pantry.  Everything else I either usually have, or can substitute.  Even if I don’t have any stock made up, I will use commercially prepared stock, and that you can keep on hand in the pantry too.

I usually make this in a very deep stock pot, but because I just bought a new banquet electric frypan, I thought I would give it a run, but it wasn’t a great idea as the oil spattered too much.  Next time, back to the tried and true stockpot!

The recipe serves 4, usually with a bit leftover for some lucky person to take for lunch the next day.  You can freeze the leftovers, I have done this plenty of times without a problem.

Chicken and Capsicum Risotto

Chicken and Capsicum Risotto

Chicken and Capsicum Risotto

280g jar of fire-roasted capsicums packed in oil (not vinegar) – you will finely dice these

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1.75 litres stock (maximum – you might not use it all, depending on the rice)

3 spring onions – sliced on the diagonal

I small clove of garlic, very finely chopped (or you can used the dried granulated garlic)

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 bbq chicken – chopped

1/2 cup grated cheese (I prefer a tasty or cheddar, parmesan is too sharp against the sweet capsicums)

1 tbsp sour cream

1 tsp dried sage leaves

Salt to taste

Drain the oil from the capsicums directly into the pan (tip:  I put a colander or sieve over the pot, and tip the capsicums straight from the jar into it, allowing it to drain for some time before I am ready to cook – you want as much oil as possible in the pan – when you are ready to cook, take the colander with the capsicums off the pot and put them aside to chop).   Heat the oil in the pan, then fry the spring onions and garlic for a minute or so.  Add the rice  and allow it to absorb the oil as it fries – fry rice in oil for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Pour in the wine and let it reduce, add a little salt and crumble in the sage leaves at this stage in order for the rice to absorb the flavours.

Add the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring frequently in between additions and allowing the stock to almost completely absorb before adding more, don’t let the risotto stick to the pan.  Your rice should take approximately 12 minutes to cook.  After about 10 minutes, add in the chicken, chopped capsicums and frozen peas.  When you think the rice is done (slightly firm but soft enough to eat – a little like ‘al dente’ pasta) stir through the cheese and sour cream.

Turn off heat, cover pot and leave to rest for five minutes before eating.

Note – this is a great Boxing Day dish.  The green and red of the peas and capsicum look quite seasonal, and it is a good way of using leftover ham/turkey/chicken or whatever.

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