TRADITIONAL RICE AND CHICKEN

by - 12:30 AM

Every culture has its rendition of chicken and rice, and this recipe has become one
of my most requested dishes; people love rice and people love chicken. Risotto is on
everybody’s radar these days, and though it’s delicious, it does require constant
attention. Here is a dish that rivals risotto for flavor but is much simpler to make.
My grandmother used to make it often for us, and we all loved it.
SERVES 4 TO 6
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup onion cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup carrot cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup celery cut into 1-inch chunks
2 plump cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 fresh bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups hot chicken or turkey stock, plus more if needed
2 cups Italian short-grain rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for passing
Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs, and cut the thighs into 1-inch chunks. Use a
food processor to mince the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic into a fine-textured pestata.
Pour the olive oil into a saucepan, and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the pestata,
and season with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently,
until the pestata has dried. Toss in the chicken pieces and the bay leaf, and sprinkle with
remaining salt. Tumble the chicken in the pan until browned and caramelized all over,
about 4 minutes.
Raise the heat, pour in the white wine, and cook, stirring and scraping up the
browned bits in the pan, until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Pour in the
hot stock, stirring, and add the rice. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and
reduce the heat to keep the riso bubbling gently. Cook for about 14 minutes, or until
both the rice and the chicken chunks are fully cooked and the consistency is creamy.
Turn off the heat, drop in the butter pieces, and stir vigorously until thoroughly
amalgamated; then stir in the parsley and ½ cup of grated cheese. Spoon the riso into
warm pasta bowls, and serve immediately, passing additional grated cheese at the table.

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