This Chicken and Leek Risotto is a delicious variation of the Italian classic and a perfect recipe for leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken.
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This girl right here is obsessed with risotto.
I hunt down good risotto any time I am in Italy, or at a great Italian restaurant here in the States.
It is my absolute favorite food, and ever since I learned how to make it, I have been going wild with so many risotto flavors.
Want to make a risotto without wine? Not a problem!
You can easily omit the wine and instead add the juice of a lemon instead to bring the same acidity.
You can save the lemon until the end and start with just a little, adding as much as you want.
Does the Rice Type Really Matter?
Yes! Arborio rice is high in starch and as this starch is released in the cooking process, it gives risotto the creamy texture.
Arborio is also a short grain rice which means it stays a little firm and chewy. You want risotto to have just a little bite or texture to it and not be soggy or too soft.
Do you really need to stir the chicken risotto so much?
In my opinion, yes.
Some people say that they do not notice a difference and just let the rice sit there and cook in all of the liquid at once. But I DO notice a difference.
The stirring and gradually adding of the liquid definitely makes the risotto creamier.
Grab a glass of wine or a friend and hang out with your Chicken and Leek Risotto for a bit, stirring as it cooks.
Yes, you can go back and forth to the pot stirring every few minutes, but the best ever risotto I made was when I was constantly stirring.
Leeks are a member of the onion family. They have a very mild onion flavor.
Many times you will see recipes call for just the white and light green parts of the leek, but I like to use the whole thing!
Just trim up your leeks by cutting off the top edges and the root.
Slice them into rounds, where the white parts will stay intact as rings and the dark green parts will cut as strips.
The most important thing about cooking leeks is making sure that you rinse them well!
Leeks grow with a lot of sand and dirt in them, so you want to swish the leeks around in a large bowl of water before cooking.
You will be surprised at how much sand and dirt comes off of some leeks!
- Place the stock in a small pot and heat over medium low. You want the stock to be warm when adding it to the risotto so that the temperature change does not affect the rice.
- Cut your leeks, including the dark green leaves, into slices. The whites will come out in rounds and the dark green parts as strips. Place all of the sliced leeks in a bowl of water. Swish around in the water (this will help clean out the sand and dirt that is often trapped in leeks).
- In a large pot, melt 2 Tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. When melted, remove the leeks from the water and add the leeks to the pot. Toss out the dirty leek water.
- Cook the leeks until they are just starting to brown. Remove the leeks from the pot, leaving any remaining butter, and set aside.
- Add 2 Tablespoons butter to the pot. When the butter is melted, add the rice and stir. Continue cooking to slightly toast the rice until it is just starting to show a little brown color, approximately 3-5 minutes.`
- Add the white wine to the pot. Cook until the rice is almost dry, where most of the wine has been absorbed.
- Add the thyme and one cup of stock to the rice. Stir continuously until most of the stock has been absorbed. Repeat this process 1/2 cup of stock at a time until the rice is cooked thoroughly. You want the rice to have just a little bit of bite left so that it is not completely mushy. Depending on your rice, you may need more or less stock for the right consistency so start tasting the rice after 4 cups.
- When your rice is cooked through, remove the pot from the heat. Add the remaining butter, chopped chicken, leeks, and Parmesan cheese. It is important to do this before adding salt and pepper because the cheese is salty. Stir to combine and until the cheese and butter have melted into the risotto.
- Taste the risotto and season with additional Parmesan, salt, and pepper as desired. Depending on your cheese, you may need no salt, or a couple teaspoons. Serve immediately.