Aha! That was sort of my reaction when I read about the Daring Cooks challenge for this month. The challenge consisted of two parts; first making your own chicken stock from scratch and two, making your own risotto with that stock. Now to be honest; making risotto is not really a challenge as I have done that a zillion times. Just love the stuff…
Making my own stock however was still on the todo list so a perfect challenge at the perfect time! But let’s first start with the necessary lines
The 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.
The instructions on the recipe called for using one whole chicken and some chicken bones… Since we normally only eat chicken filets, I didn’t have any leftover bones or carcass of any chicken lying around and neither do we have a butcher nearby so I just used one whole chicken and a couple of chicken legs instead. It worked fine, but I will use leftover bones next time when I make myself a whole chicken (soon to come!)
The chicken first had to be brought to a boil so you could get rid of some of the scum that comes out of the poor animal… I was actually glad I have such a huge souppan. I think I got it from my parents ages ago when I first started living on my own (what where they thinking? It’s large enough to feed an entire crowd..lol) It easily fit the chicken and the legs and after it was brought to a boil and cleaned of a bit, the veggies and spices where added. I was convinced I had cinnamon sticks lying around but I couldn’t find them anywhere so I left those out. Too bad really as I love cinnamon, but not enough apparently to run back to the store. I did brown the onions so that the stock would have a little bit of color.
The whole pot happily bubbled away for about 1,5 hour at which point I had to remove the chicken who was already falling apart. We let it cool of and then plucked all the meat from the bones. Loads of chicken!
The stock we ended up with after about three hours in total of cooking time, was quite substantial too. I didn’t really measure but let’s just say I have a couple of liter of chickenstock in the freezer right now!
So making the stock was pretty straightforward and I love the fact that you can really throw in any kind of leftovers you want. I did find the taste a little bit bland but that is probably due to my lack of adding a few things. Didn’t have the cinnamon and then forgot the allspice… Tsss… I pretty much stuck to the recipe for the stock but I will season it differently for next time. Where I bought a couple of ingredients this time I will not do that next time, but will purely work with leftover stuff. That is the whole point afterall of making stock I think. It’s just perfect for leftovers and bones. But I now know that it is essentially incredibly easy to do, so that is good to know.
So then came the fun part of making the risotto which was the next day. I figured I should use some of the chicken at least in the risotto, so I did that. I don’t particularly like cooked chicken, so I baked them until the were a bit brown and crispy and had a lovely taste.
I had peas in the freezer so I used those, added some mushrooms, put some crumpled baconbits on top as well as parmesan and voila… Beautiful meal! I have to say that the risotto in the photos might look a bit dry but that is because we ate most of it and then I shot the leftovers the day after! So I did reheat it but with risotto that tends to mean that it becomes a bit dryer than it should be. Still very tasty though. Plus I didn’t have any leftover bacon so they photos did without. But adding the bacon is really lovely as it gives a nice crunch to the total.
Due to the fact that the stock was a bit bland I used part of a chicken stock cube to season it a bit as well as some other things I threw in (and can’t remember) but overall delicious meal!
Here are the recipes!
- 1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg
chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg
2 onions, roughly diced
- 1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced
2 sticks celery, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)
peel of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. allspice
- Risotto BaseIngredients:
olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g
Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L
- Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
- Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
- Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
- Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
- Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
- Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
- Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.
- Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
- Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
- Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
- Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
- Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
- Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
- Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
- Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.