Dinner

Chicken and asparagus baked risotto with hard goats cheese

I’ve been missing my kitchen. Is that weird? I’ve been dreaming about it at work and all the things I want to cook in it. I miss turning up the radio and singing like it’s no body’s business. I miss dancing like I’m 100% sure I’m Beyoncé. I miss the chopping, the stirring, and the warm rewards I get in return. I miss the evening sun and the sound of the rowers. It’s been such a long week I think needed to ease myself back in gently. This oven cooked chicken risotto is minimal chopping, minimal stirring, minimal chicken ripping. Insanely comforting rewards.

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From such few ingredients we can create wonders in our oven. The perfect base to any risotto: chopped shallot which brings a slight bite, minced garlic and sliced celery.

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We take it up a notch with bright lemon zest and finely grated pungent goat’s cheese. In my eyes when pungent is used in the same word as cheese this can only be a good thing. If you’re not a fan of strong goats cheese try using parmesan for a less heavy hit.

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At this point our risotto looks more like soup then, well risotto. Don’t fear about the fact we appear to have drowned our risotto. Soupy’s good. Soupy will become starchy and creamy once the rice has had its time to cook.

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After twenty minutes our soup is looking more like risotto, phew, and it’s ready to take our chicken and asparagus. Adding them in a little later down the line ensures our asparagus remains crunchy and our chicken remains soft and moist.

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After a further fifteen minutes we add our remaining goats cheese and lemon juice. We add it in right at the end to ensure our flavors stand out rather than getting lost within our risotto. Then five minutes later. BOOM. We have this bad boy and oh man it is so good.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

Half a cooked chicken, cold and shredded

1 cup arborio risotto rice

1 Liter (35oz) chicken stock

50 grams hard goats cheese (or parmesan if preferred), finely grated

1 stick of celery, sliced

Small bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 banana shallot, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic finely minced

Salt and pepper

Steps

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C (375F).
  2. Saute the shallot in a teaspoon of oil. Add a little salt at this stage to draw out the moisture from the shallot and help them cook. Add the celery and garlic after 5 minutes and continue to saute for a further 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook on a high heat quickly for only a few minutes stirring often. This cracks our rice and allows it to absorb more stock. Make sure not to burn the garlic.
  3. Pour the rice and vegetable mixture into a shallow oven proof pan. Top with lemon zest and pour over the chicken stock. Add half the hard goats cheese, juice of half the lemon, and salt and pepper. Stir well and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes add the cold roast chicken and asparagus and stir. Cook for a further 15 minutes. With 5 minutes to go add the rest of the hard goats cheese and the remaining juice of the lemon. Leave to cook in the oven for the last 5 minutes and then leave to cool for 5 minutes before eating.
  5. Top with a little extra lemon zest, a sprinkle of goats cheese and freshly cracked pepper.
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