Recipes: the world of my experimentation.

Wood Fired Chicken Risotto

Wood Fired Chicken Risotto


  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoon good quality olive oil, more if necessary
  • 2 cup arborio rice6-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon herbed sea salt or sea salt and ½ t. Italian herbs (will need to adjust towards end)
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ – 3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (‘to taste’)
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil
  • 6-8 cup chicken stock (I use the one I make, see note), warm and in a pot with ladle
  • 3/4 cup good white wine (I like Trade Joe’s Sauvignon Blanc. A dry wine is best.) 2-2 ½ cup chicken (this was left over from a wood fire roasted chicken, any left over will do, just make sure it is chopped into about ½ “ or less pieces.)
  •  I added ½ teaspoon dried heirloom celery leaves, crumbled.  If you don’t have that 🙂 use about 1-2 T. Fresh parsley (Italian) or celery leaves/ribs, finely chopped.
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped medium fine (1/4 “ pieces)
  • 1-1 ½ cup chopped / silvered red spinach leaves.  Can use regular spinach or a combo of spinach and radicchio.  Or red /green amaranth (the farmers market has this, they also call it Chinese Spinach).  I bought the spinach at Trader Joe’s.
  • 1/4 cup or more shredded Parmesan cheese, good quality

Parmesan cheese for gratingred pepper flakes for spice

Using a 12 inch heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onion, saute until partially translucent, stirring often. Don’t let it burn, adjust heat as necessary.  Add the ricewhen it looks close to partially translucent, stir to heat and slightly toast the grains, about 3-5 minutes.  Don’t let them brown, they will become slightly translucent if anything.

Add garlic and stir for one minute, then add 1/4 c. chicken broth, stir well letting broth evaporate.  Add 1/4 c. wine, stir well letting it evaporate. Now begins the add, stir a lot, add, stir a lot… phase.

Add about 2 c. chicken broth, stir well, then add the salt/herbs, granulated garlic, pepper, basil. Stir well, and often letting the rice absorb the moisture.  Continue to add broth a ½ c – 1 c at a time as it cooks down, stirring the rice often (I’m usually making a salad, etc. so I go back and forth).

At about 3/4 of the way through the cooking when the broth has cooked down (about 30 min, +/-) add the remainder of the wine.  Stir well then add the chicken and celery (if using).

Stir well, add more broth, then as that cooks down add the olives and spinach.  At this point you should have about 1 c. or so of broth left.  Use a spoon and taste test the rice.  You’re looking for doneness (al dente, not too mushy or crunchy) and flavor.  Adjust seasonings.  Add more broth to cook to doneness.  When that is achieved the risotto should be moist but not runny, sort of creamy as well.

Turn off heat and add the Parmesan cheese, stirring in well.  Serve with Parmesan cheese and red pepper on side.  I serve this with a big salad with lots of lettuces and veggies.  A nice red wine, or a berry ice tea, or sparkling water with lemon…

* note, you can substitute browned and crumbled Italian or Swiss Sausage for the chicken and it would taste good as well.

Chicken broth

I usually use parts of the carcass I don’t use in a recipe (wing tips) and bones/remains from a roast chicken, etc.  Skins, bits of chicken. Typically it will be from at least several birds.  Normally I don’t use an entire uncarved bird.  That will make a different stock.

  • Chicken3 carrots, cut up in chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, cut up in chunks, with leaves
  • 1 onion cut up in chunks, onion skins
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • pepper corns (about 1 teaspoon)
  • parsley, 5 or so sprigs

Put all in pot, fill with good water, simmer for 2 or 3 hours with the lid ajar, cool and drain. I use a pasta pot with a liner which makes this a lot easier.  Freeze.  Keeps for a year, but I usually use it up with in 6 months.  I do not salt the broth because there will residual seasoning on the bones and I use salt during cooking.  Chicken that has been roasted in a clay pot or wood oven yields beautiful gelatin, and one can crack the bones prior to stock making. If they remember.  I used to skim the fat but there really isn’t much and chicken fat has benefit.

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