Sunday, April 13, 2008

My 1st Platinum Chef: Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Leek Risotto and a Caper, Mushroom Balsamic Sauce

Whew! What a title! For about a year, since its inception, I have been a “lurker” of the Platinum Chef Challenge. I always take a look at the ingredients, always peruse everyone’s blogs to see what they’ve come up with, but have never taken part, until now! I decided during the last round, for which I missed the deadline, that I was GOING to participate next time, regardless of the ingredients. Then, Kate of Paved with Good Intentions unveiled the ingredients…capers, leeks, cream, rosemary, and lemon. Wow! What a great mix! The only daunting ingredient to me was leeks, I had never even thought of using them before, never mind knowing what to do with them. But, I forged ahead nonetheless. I ended up with a grilled chicken breast that was marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, and rosemary; and I served it with a leek risotto and a balsamic mushroom sauce.

I had made a delicious chicken dish at the end of last summer, and after quite a bit of thinking, decided to work off of that inspiration. I knew it contained rosemary and lemon, so I went from there.

I took the following ingredients:

2 chicken breasts
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
garlic, minced
a dash of paprika

and I marinated in a shallow dish for about 45 minutes. I then grilled the chicken for about 7 minutes per side, until cooked through and complete with light grill marks.

Meanwhile, I began the risotto. I have only made risotto once before, and was quite nervous, but took a deep breath and went for it.

Ingredients (adapted from an epicurious parmesan risotto recipe):
2 tablespoons butter
1 large leek, halved and chopped
1/4 cup light cream
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 small white onion, chopped (I wanted a variety of members from the onion family to be represented here, but I am sure it would be just delicious with only shallots or just onions)
3/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup water
just shy of 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh rosemary

I began by sautéing the leeks, salt and pepper with some melted butter for a few minutes over medium heat in a medium sauté pan. I then added the cream, and stirred and let simmer for about 10 minutes and set aside, keeping warm.

I then melted 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. I added the shallot and onion and cooked until softened, about 4-5 minutes. I then added the rice and stirred for 1 minute or so. Next, I added the wine and stirred until most of the liquid was absorbed, about 1 minute. In a separate, small saucepan, I heated the chicken stock and water together. Once the wine was nearly absorbed, I then added 1/2 cup of the stock. I let it simmer until stock was almost absorbed, stirring often, about 3-4 minutes. I continued to add more broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next and stirred often, until rice was tender and mixture was creamy, about 20-25 minutes total. Finally, I stirred in leek mixture and remaining tablespoon butter, then added cheese and a touch more cream.

While making the risotto, in between stirs, I went to work on the balsamic mushroom topping.

1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
Generous handful of cremini mushrooms, sliced in half
Spoonful of capers (drained of liquid)
4 tablespoons white wine
A few turns of balsamic vinegar.

I melted butter in a medium skillet, then added the shallots and garlic and sautéed for a few minutes until softened. I then added the sliced mushroom and chopped rosemary and sautéed for about 5-6 minutes until browned. I kept the mushrooms over low heat while the chicken and risotto cooked, and once those dishes were almost done, I added the capers, white wine and balsamic vinegar. I stirred to combine and then let reduce.

Once everything was done, I mounded the risotto in the middle of the plate, placed the chicken on the risotto, and then topped with the balsamic mushrooms. For presentation, I added a grilled lemon wheel, as sprig of rosemary, and a thin leek.

This meal was FANTASTIC. The flavors worked so well together. The leeks were a wonderful addition to the risotto, and the capers were a nice compliment to the balsamic mushrooms. The chicken was ridiculously flavorful and tender! A bite with the creamy, rich risotto and the tart, savory balsamic mushrooms was my favorite, a nice contrast!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

This sounds divine!