Cheat’s Chicken and Chorizo Risotto

I call this a cheat’s risotto because apart from the initial browning and mixing, there is very little stirring required.  You don’t have to stand by the stove stirring endlessly so once you have got it cooking, you can walk away and do something else.  It’s really somewhere between a risotto and a paella, but you shouldn’t leave it on the heat long enough that it develops a crust like a paella.  This generously serves four.  It should take less than an hour from when you start cooking.


Cheat’s Chicken and Chorizo Risotto

Cheat's Chicken and Chorizo Risotto

Cheat’s Chicken and Chorizo Risotto

2 tbs olive oil

500g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of the larger bits of fat and cut into six pieces

1 chorizo sausage, sliced into about 1cm slices

Leafy ends of three stalks of celery, roughly chopped

I red capsicum, chopped into large chunks

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

400g can diced tomatoes

3 cups light stock, such as chicken or vegetable – should be hot

3 tsp dried oregano

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and pepper

Fresh parsley to garnish


Heat half the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan.  I use cast iron which you should only heat to about 3/4 of the flame, but if you use regular cookware, you can heat it a little hotter.   Season chicken and cook until browned.  Remove from heat.

Add chorizo, celery and capsicum with the remaining oil.  Cook for about three minutes until the chorizo is browned.  Add rice and stir to coat with the oil.  Add wine (a little splodge extra won’t do any harm here!) and cook for about two minutes further.

Return chicken to pan (drain off any excess fluid that has collected on the plate while the chicken has been resting).  Stir through, then add tomato, stock all in one go and oregano.  Stir well, then cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for about 20 minutes, rice should be tender and liquid evaporated.  Mix through peas, season again if required and put lid back on pot.  Stand for five minutes, garnish and serve.

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.