Saturday, 23 June 2012

Champagne spelt risotto crusted chicken

1 pint vegetable stock, 1/2 white onion, butter, champagne, 1 cup spelt, chicken
Serves: 2 preparation: 1 hour

I have been cooking chicken a lot for The Husband recently (how strange to not be calling him The Boy any more. *terrified grown up moment*) and challenging myself to create ever more moist, tender chicken. The beer-can chicken was probably at the top of the succulent scale, but this gives it stiff competition. All risottos (no matter what the ingredients) can be made in 3 simple stages. The first is called tostatura - coating the rice in fat, the second involves cooking off some alcohol and the third involves releasing the starch from the rice one ladle of stock at a time. It's this process of releasing starch into a sauce which makes a risotto a risotto and I was delighted to learn that spelt (a kind of wheat) can also be used.
1) Soak the spelt in cold water for 5 minutes

2) Dice the onion roughly and sautee in a little butter until soft. Drain the water from the spelt and stir into the onions. 
3) Add a glug of champagne, once the alcohol cooks off, add the first ladle of stock and stir through.

4) Continue adding the stock to the risotto, one ladle at a time until the spelt has fluffed up and softened. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

5) Form the risotto around the chicken in a protective shell and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes before serving.

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