I Made It!
It’s spring for a while yet, so I made
chicken risotto primavera. And again I go to Cook’s Illustrated for the hookup.
We start with some preparatory work: take a nice big hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano and grate it with a microplane until you’ve got a full cup of it. Also take a leek, cut off the dark green parts and the very bottom, quarter it, chop finely, and rinse the leaves thoroughly — leeks tend to have a lot of grit and sand in them. Finally, take half a pound of asparagus, break off the tough bottom parts and cut the rest diagonally into half-inch pieces.
Next, put three and a half cups of low-sodium chicken broth and three cups of water into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium high heat; as it comes close, lower the heat as low as possible to just keep it warm. Also, preheat the oven to 450 ºF.
Now take about three pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and pat them thoroughly dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking, place the breasts skin side down into the oil, and leave them for five minutes or so, until the skin browns nicely. Transfer the chicken until a baking dish — now skin side up — and put into a low rack in the oven until the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 ºF.
Meanwhile, pour out the oil and fat in the Dutch oven, but try to leave any browned bits in the bottom. Toss in the leek, four tablespoons (half a stick) of butter, and half a teaspoon of salt, and cook for about five minutes until the leeks soften. Add two cups of arborio rice, cook and stir until the edges of the rice turn transparent.
Now add a cup of dry white wine — I used one from Graves which is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon — and cook until the wine is completely absorbed. Add three cups of the warm broth and stir every few minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the bottom of the Dutch oven is dry when you move the rice away.
From here on, add broth about half a cup at a time every few minutes to keep the risotto from drying and sticking to the bottom, and continue until the rice is cooked through but still a little firm in the center. A couple minutes into this process, stir in the asparagus and half a cup of frozen peas. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, season with salt, pepper, and minced fresh tarragon.
When the chicken is done — and it should be done some time while the risotto is cooking — remove it from the oven and tent the dish with foil until you’re ready. Cut the meat from the ribs and slice it crosswise. Arrange the chicken over the risotto in bowls and serve.