Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 41: Risoto with Italian Sausage and Chicken

I was in the mood for risotto again for some reason and decided to make up a batch along with some Italian sausage and leftover chicken.  Risotto is one of those things that are incredibly simple, but fairly labor intensive.  Thankfully, sausage and leftovers are pretty easy to prepare so I was able to focus on just the risotto.  The sausage I started on by simply tossing it into a pan with a bit of oil in order to crisp up the exterior.  After the exterior was nice and crisp I poured in some beef stock and covered it while it finished cooking through completely.  The chicken I heated up in the microwave like a dirty cheater.

The risotto itself was a bit more complicated, although not by much.  I started with some olive oil, and roughly chopped carrots, celery and onions.  That mixture got a touch of salt and pepper before I let it sweat down and soften in preparation for the rice.  Risotto pretty much requires arborio rice, and who am I to buck tradition and science?  The rice went in with the sweated veggies to toast for a minute or two before I started ladling in chicken stock.

This is the part where risotto gets "complicated," although it isn't very difficult.  Risotto requires constant stirring, and the slow addition of stock.  I spent roughly the next 30 minutes adding stock to the bubbling mixture one ladle at a time, as the liquid was absorbed I would add the next dose of liquids.  As I said, not complicated, but very labor intensive because the whole thing has to be stirred pretty constantly.  Part way through it looked a bit like this in the pan:

After about 30 minutes I was starting to run low on my pre-measured supply of stock, so it was time to start tasting.  I was quite pleased with the flavor I had, but added in some basil, a bay leaf, and a bit of cayenne chili powder just for a bit more depth.  Once the texture and flavor were right, I scooped it up and onto the plate, sliced the sausage and chicken over top, and devoured.  I was quite pleased with the result overall.  The rice was wonderfully creamy with a tiny touch of toothsome bite for the texture, and had a fantastic flavor throughout.  The sausage combined nicely with the slightly spicy flavor of the rice, and added another texture.  Bringing up the rear was the leftover chicken.  Being leftovers, the texture was a bit rough, but the flavor was still good, and while I probably wouldn't add it next time, it was a nice contrast to the rest of the dish.

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