Caramelized Onion and Lemon RisottoThe 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.
For my first Daring Cook’s challenge I was pleasantly surprised to see risotto. Risotto is something that I have tried on a few occasions in the past and found it to be quite easy. I had resisted making it for a long time because of the countless cooking shows where they talked about risotto in a way that it took a world class chef to be able to prepare.
The best thing I find about risotto is that you can use a basic risotto and spice it up with any ingredients you want. I have a recipe that I have made on many occasions that is seriously one of the best dishes I have ever made, Italian Sausage and Kale Risotto. Since I know the flavours are amazing in this dish I decided to use that as the inspiration, secret is that the lemon zest is my favourite part.
So for this months challenge I decided on Caramelized Onion and Lemon Risotto, and boy was I excited for this dish. You may be thinking right now that none of this sounds like much of a challenge so I guess I will take this opportunity to mention the part of the challenge that was just that a challenge for me.
Reading the instructions it doesn’t seem like a particularly difficult task except for the fact that I do not like meat off a bone. I can admit that I was a bit spoiled when I was little and I really only remember eating boneless skinless chicken breasts. Until this challenge I had never purchased a whole chicken and just the thought of working with it didn’t make me very excited.
Okay enough complaining, it was time to get going on my first ever experience making homemade stock. After rinsing the chicken and placing it in the pan I realized that I definitely didn’t have a pot large enough for the instructions that said both a chicken and chicken bones, so I improvised with just the chicken. After adding all the vegetables and spices I turned it on and let it cook for the next few hours.
As the chicken was cooking the apartment started smelling so good with the cinnamon, bay leaf and all spice; maybe this whole homemade stock wasn’t going to be so bad after all. When the chicken was all cooked I pulled it out and took the chicken off of the bone and set aside for other recipes this week. Then I put the bones back in the stock to keep cooking for another hour.
When it had cooked for what seemed like an entire day I turn it off and strained the broth to later be used in my risotto. All in all it was a very successful first attempt at homemade chicken stock. Something that I might just try again in the future, although I have to say that the stuff I buy at costco is much easier. None the less it was a great first challenge for Daring Cooks.
1 large chicken
2 onions, roughly diced
1 medium leek – white part only
2 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon whole peppercorn
2 bay leaves
peel of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Wash the chicken and place in a pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Skim away any scum that comes to the top.
Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer very gently uncovered for an hour and a half.
Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside (or in my case take the chicken off the bones and add the bones back to the stock). Simmer the stock for another hour. Ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less it is disturbed the clearer it will be. Freeze what you don’t need for future use.
Caramelized Onion and Lemon Risotto
4 cups homemade chicken stock
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup red wine
1 lemon zested
fresh grated Romano cheese
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sugar to the pan, saute until onions are golden. Place onions in a bowl and set aside.
Add Arborio rice to a pan and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in red wine, allow to cook until the liquid had nearly absorbed, making sure to stir constantly. Once liquid is almost absorbed stir in 1 cup of broth cooking that until nearly absorbed. Continue by adding 1/2 a cup of broth at a time allowing it to nearly absorb before adding the next portion of broth. Making sure through out this process to stir constantly.
Once the rice has absorbed all of the liquid remove from the heat, stir in onions, cheese and lemon zest.
Serve with your favourite protein and vegetables.