The Perfect Base

This past Sunday I sharpened my domestic knife and got to work making homemade chicken stock. I’ve seen dozens of recipes before but never taken the time to really put it together. This recipe from Bon Appetit could not have been simpler. I added four crushed cloves of garlic (skin on) and a handful of thyme, otherwise I stayed true to the recipe. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a Sunday afternoon activity and an insane amount of depth to your dishes.

I used it for the risotto I made for dinner and Adam and I declared it the best risotto yet. We tend to say this each time we make it, but this time we meant it for real. It was truly bursting with flavor. I served it alongside roasted Brussels sprouts and grilled chicken, and finished the meal with a cookies and cream milkshake from Cook-Out. Yeah, no big deal.

 

I don’t follow a specific recipe for risotto anymore, rather I combine elements of several recipes I really love. It also usually depends on what I have on hand. Here’s an amalgamation that has worked well for me in the past.

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms (last night I used a mix of portabella and shitake)
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat chicken stock over medium-low heat until just steaming. Keep it warm throughout cooking.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until brown around the edges, about 5-7 minutes. Set mushrooms aside in a small bowl for later.
  3. Heat remaining butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add rice and stir to coat with oil. Rice should turn translucent around the edges, about 2-3 minutes. You should smell a slight nutty aroma, but the rice should not turn brown.
  5. Add white wine, stirring rice. Turn down heat slightly. From here out you need to stir rice continuously–this breaks down the starches in the rice, giving you the desirable creamy texture. Additionally, if not constantly moving, the rice can scorch.
  6. Once white wine is completely absorbed add one ladle-full of warm chicken stock. Stir rice until this is absorbed, continue adding stock in this fashion until all stock has been absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Stir in mushrooms, herbs, cheese, salt, and pepper. Turn off heat and let rice sit covered for about two minutes.*
  8. Top with extra cheese (if you’re crazy about cheese like I am) and serve!

*Not all recipes call for this step, but I swear by it. It makes the risotto ultra creamy and delicious.

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