There’s a cookbook I got out of the library a few weeks ago that I never want to take back. Maybe I’ll just keep it on a perpetual cycle of renewals and check-outs. It’s called Simple Dinners by Donna Hay and it is chock-full of recipes that are truly easy, fast, delicious, and surprisingly gourmet. Last night I made “Baked Chicken and Porcini Risotto” and I swear it is the easiest recipe I’ve ever made in my life: dump, mix, bake. The result was almost as good as real Italian risotto, which is one of my favourite things to make but takes 20 minutes of constant stirring. This took zero minutes of stirring! Give it a try tonight if you’re feeling stumped (and if you’ve got a package of dried porcini in the pantry). If not, put it on your list for next week.
Baked Chicken and Porcini Risotto
25 grams dried porcini mushrooms
3/4 cup boiling water
4 chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and chopped (I used whole bone-in chicken thighs)
2 cups arborio (risotto) rice
1 L (4 cups) chicken stock
2 tsp thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
50 grams butter, chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra Parmesan to serve
Preheat oven to 400F. Place the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms and place in a 3-litre capacity ovenproof dish with the mushroom soaking water, chicken, rice, stock, thyme and garlic. Stir to combine, cover tightly with lid or aluminum foil, and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven, add the butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper, and stir for 3-4 minutes or until risotto thickens. Divide between bowls and top with Parmesan to serve. Serves 4.