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!