This was is the second risotto recipe I have tried at home, and it was another success. I just don’t understand why I never like risotto in restaurants, but I always enjoy it when I make it. Regardless, this is a very tasty dish. Like most risotto, it takes some time to prepare, but it is not difficult.

I halved the recipe since I was only cooking for the two of us (my dimensions are below – scroll down for a link to the original recipe). For the cooked chicken, I wanted something with more flavor than just poached chicken so I marinated a chicken breast for about 4 hours before cooking it in a skillet on medium heat. I was unable to find a leek in any of the grocery stores where I looked, so I just left it out. I also couldn’t find Madeira wine so I just used a soft red from a local winery. I think that I ended up using a bit more chicken stock than the recipe called for because the rice hadn’t quite reached the right texture. I just continued to add chicken stock and taste every few minutes until the rice was creamy enough.

Risotto with Chicken and Carmelized Onions
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet white or yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ leek, white portion only, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup Madeira wine, at room temperature
4 ½ – 5 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups Arborio (medium grain) rice
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 1/8 cup of the olive oil. Add the onions and leek and sauté until the onions turn golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the Madeira and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat. Add ½ cup of the simmering stock to the onion mixture and continue to cook over medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced and the mixture is quite thick, about 15 minutes more. Set aside.

While the onions simmer, in another large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1/8 cup olive oil. Add the rice and stir until each grain is well coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes.

Add the simmering stock a half-ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next spoonful. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to add at the end.

When the rice is tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy, after about 20 minutes, stir in the chicken. Cook to heat through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, caramelized onion mixture and reserved 1/4 cup stock. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Source: Williams Sonoma