Saturday, April 10, 2010

(57) Risotto with Chicken and Beet Greens

I have to admit right here and now - my husband and I do not really love beets. So when I saw beet greens in the CSA box this week, I thought 'eh, ok'. But today I got up the nerve to find a good recipe for them and I'm sure glad I did!

This risotto was an excellent way to use the beet greens! I only had about 3/4 lb of greens and they were slim and sometimes short. The final product didn't taste overly 'beet-ish' at all, which was my biggest fear. Not sure if it's because I didn't have a pound, they were small, or that's just the way this recipe works! In any case, it was DELICIOUS and the perfect lunch for us!

As with any risotto, there's an awful lot of stirring and waiting. The recipe says it should take 20 minutes and mine took at least 2x that long. It's quite possible that I was overly cautious, but if yours takes that long too, don't worry! Slow and steady is better than speedy in this case!

For my vegetarian friends out there, you could easily omit the chicken and sub in veggie broth. And if you're vegan (hi Natalie!) if you can find a good vegan substitute for parmesan, you're golden! (I used asiago and parmesan, but any mix of sharp tasting cheeses, vegan or not, would work!)

Risotto with Chicken and Beet Greens

Yield: 6 servings
Source: Gourmet Magazine, March 1996

5 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 pound beet stems and greens (from about 6 beets), stems trimmed and leaves washed well
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 whole skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a saucepan bring broth and water to a simmer and keep at a bare simmer.

Cut beet stems into 1/4-inch pieces and slice leaves thin. In a 4-quart heavy kettle cook beet stems and onion in 2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat until stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook until opaque, about 2 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon oil and beet leaves and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring, until leaves are wilted and any liquid is evaporated.

Add rice to chicken mixture and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Stir in about 1 cup broth and cook at a bare simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/3 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender and creamy looking but still al dente, 18 to 20 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in vinegar, grated Parmesan, black pepper, and salt to taste.

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