As most of you know I am in deep chef love with Emeril. He was my first chef love. Still at the top of my list, but now joined by a few more chef’s that melt my food heart.
I’m terribly starry-eyed about our local food hero, and because I think him brilliant, I mentioned Chef Douglas in one of my recent seafood classes. It just so happened that one of the students attending the class works for Chef Douglas and his culinary empire.
So of course I gushed a little more and asked the student to please pass along a sincere “hello” and I have a “chef crush on you” from Karista’s Kitchen. :)
A few weeks later, the lovely young lady sent me a signed copy of my favorite Tom Douglas cookbook. I gushed all over again and now it’s proudly displayed on my shelf of favorite cookbooks. Thanks Jessica!
Of course my starry-eyed self has continued on the admiration wagon with several local chef’s. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Ivan Szilak of The Collections Café at the new Chihuly Glass and Garden exhibit in the Seattle Center.
His delightfully seasoned and seared octopus was melt in your mouth decadent, not to mention the perfectly prepared seared Ahi Tuna sliders and Seattle’s Beecher’s fried cheese curds with red tomato jam. Exquisite!
Ranger Craig and I sat in unusual silence (I’m quite chatty) most of the dinner, unable to speak due to the sheer culinary delights. Thank you Chef Ivan (and Mr. Ron Sevart!) for a most divine culinary experience.
When thinking about a recipe for this post, I contemplated calamari or maybe even a seared tuna. But because Suzie Q keeps requesting risotto, and I have leftover grilled chicken in the frig, I thought this the perfect recipe for today.
Elizabeth David is one of my favorite cookbook authors and her style is relaxed and straight forward allowing for the most stress free cooking. This is the way I cook at home.
A wine glass of this, a teacup of that, a drizzle of this, a dash of that and a most delicious meal has been created. Little fuss, lots of love and large on flavor. For this recipe however, I’ve broken it down into more exact measurements but feel free to improvise as much as you like.
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!
Chicken Risotto (adapted from Elizabeth David’s Chicken Risotto)
Serves 4 generously
2-3 cups of diced cooked chicken
1 small onion, diced
a clove of garlic, minced
1 small red or green pepper, diced
a tablespoon or two of butter
Fresh chopped herbs, about 1 tablespoon (I like thyme, Italian parsley and oregano in this dish)
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
4 – 6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups risotto
4 ounces or so of prosciutto, coarsely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced (optional, I have one daughter who likes the tomatoes and one who doesn’t)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour hot water over the dried porcini’s and let them rest for about 15 minutes. Once they are nicely plump and soft, drain them and dice.
In a large heavy bottom pan or stock pot melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onions, peppers and garlic until wilted. Then add the risotto and saute for a minute longer until the rice is nicely incorporated.
Add the white wine and fresh herbs and stir. When the wine is absorbed begin adding 1/2 - 1/3 cup stock at a time, gently stirring until the stock is absorbed. Continue this process over medium heat until the rice is done, about 20-30 minutes. I like my risotto creamy, not stiff, so I usually add a little extra stock at the end of cooking. This will make it easier to fold in the additional ingredients.
Stir in the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then gently fold in the porcini mushrooms, diced chicken, diced prosciutto, and tomatoes.
Serve in individual bowls or serve family style. This is a lovely one dish meal but can also be served with a salad of fresh greens tossed in a citrus or light vinaigrette.