May 10, 2010

Spinach Risotto w/Chicken, leeks and garlic

Leeks are an item that I really enjoy – but I don’t have a lot of recipes to use them.  So that is one of the main reasons I picked this recipe to try out.  And let me say – it was delicious.   Cook’s Illustrated calls this ‘almost hands-free risotto’ since you only have to stir for a few minutes – which makes this even a better reason to try out this recipe.  Definitely worth the effort – I thought it was delicious.


  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces each), each cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium leek , finely chopped white and light green parts
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 large garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp. juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach , thawed and squeezed of excess moisture


1. Bring broth and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain gentle simmer.

2. Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip chicken and cook second side until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

3. Transfer chicken to saucepan of simmering broth and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to large plate.

4. Add 2 tablespoons butter to now empty Dutch oven set over medium heat. When butter has melted, add leeks and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are softened but not browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, about 3 minutes.

5. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir 5 cups warm broth into rice; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until almost all liquid has been absorbed and rice is just al dente, 16 to 18 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.

6. Add ¾ cup warm broth to risotto and stir gently and constantly until risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and spinach. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, remove and discard skin and bones from chicken, and shred meat into bite-size pieces. Gently stir shredded chicken, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, lemon juice, parsley, and chives into risotto. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add up to ½ cup additional broth to loosen texture of risotto.


Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

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