Saturday, February 5, 2011

No Recipe Required: Roast Chicken and Risotto

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about using recipes for everything and how I needed to get away from that. Well I figured there is no time like the present, so last night I made supper without using a recipe. I made a beautiful roast chicken and risotto with caramelized onions, peas and a touch of parmesan.

Last night’s supper planning started a few days ago when I ran into the GrassRoots Co-Op to pick up some milk and some flour. I often buy my flour in bulk and while I was scooping it out I saw that they had Arborio rice.  “Hmmm….” I thought myself, “I could make risotto with that.” I then measured out a cup or so and went on my merry way. The fact, that I have never made risotto, never really entered my mind.

Cooking started with the chicken. I often make roast chicken, so making it without a recipe is really not an issue. (Though I do always forget what temp to cook it to, 180° for those who now realize that they don’t remember either.) I rubbed it with olive oil, tarragon, garlic, rosemary and S & P. Then I tossed it in the oven at 350° until my thermometer read 180°. Easy-peasy.

Then came time for the risotto, for which originally I had intended to find a recipe. I looked at a few when I first got back from the store, but I really did not read them. I am not sure why, but they all seemed too frou-frou (go figure, frou-frou is actually in my spell check!). So I decided that I would just wing it. I thought about all the risottos I have seen made on TV, contemplated the few I have eaten and started cooking.

I started by thawing six cups of my homemade chicken stock in the microwave. After it thawed a bit I put it in a pot and brought it to a simmer. Then I heated some oil in a large skillet. I poured in my Arborio rice and roasted it until it was a light golden brown. I then started adding the chicken broth, stirring and adding more chicken broth, one ladle at a time.

At first I planned to make a very plain risotto. I figured that plain would be fine for my first attempt, but things were going so well that I got fancy. I kept adding stock a ladle or so at a time to the risotto while I cut up an onion and started caramelizing it. I was a bit worried about the timing of this, but in the end they were both done at about the same time. I then put the onions in the risotto, warmed some frozen peas, added some S & P and finished with some parmesan. It was quite good.

Sadly, the risotto was finished when the chicken was still at 165°, so it had to sit awhile before we ate. The risotto ended up being a bit too thick. However, everything was tasty AND I made our whole supper without reading a recipe while doing it!


  1. Looks great! And, I like making dishes without recipes. However, most of those are Filipino dishes with descriptions like "use whatever vegetables you have" and "just take your meat" without any amounts! Lol.

  2. Wonderful, congratulations for your first Risotto! While reading your post I could really feel all the joy you had when preparing this yummy supper. Oh, and I would like to buy in that organic grocery store, too!

    By the way, what does "S & P" mean? Google only talks about it only as a common stock index...

  3. ~YummyChunklet~ "use whatever you have" is the best kind of recipe.

    ~Thomas~ S & P = Salt and Pepper.

  4. Well done you for not using a recipe! I am a sucker for sticking rigidly to recipes and wish I could just make things up as I go as my husband does.

  5. This looks wonderful for a meal done sans recipe. I'll wager it was as tasty as it was beautiful. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary