If you’re on a tight budget, or simply want to make your ingredients go further, then Chicken and Mushroom Risotto from the Hairy Dieters is an excellent recipe to try. It requires just 2 chicken breasts, half a pack of chestnut mushrooms and the normally calorific creamy risotto rice is made slimming friendly by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of crème fraiche. I’ve never typically gone for traditional risotto-based dishes so I can’t tell the difference, except to the benefit of my waistline!
Reducing the chicken stock is quite a laborious task, but personally I didn’t mind as all you need to do is keep an eye on the pan and it’s not as if you have to faff around doing extra chopping or prep work. A word of warning, the portion is quite small so you might want to bulk it out by adding some green vege. I opted for peas in this instance. Oh, and if you can’t / don’t want to get any expensive wild mushrooms, don’t worry. They do add an extra ‘earthiness’ to the dish but frankly you can take them or leave them.
If you’re wondering what to do with any spare chicken breasts or mushrooms, give Pollo Pasta with Pesto from Justine Pattison a go.
Recipe: Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
Calories: 317 calories per portion
Book: Hairy Dieters – How to Love Food and Lose Weight
Prep time: None
Cooking time: Approx 50 minutes
Ingredients: 10g dried wild mushrooms, 1 litre just-boiled water, 1 chicken stock cube, 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 tbsp olive oil, 150g small chestnut mushrooms (wiped and sliced), 1 medium onion (finely chopped), 2 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed), 150g risotto rice (Arborio), 25g parmesan cheese (finely grated), 2 tbsp half-fat crème fraiche, flaked sea salt, ground black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £1.33
Method: Put the dried mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl and pour over 100ml of the just-boiled water. Pour the rest of the water into a medium saucepan and stir in the stock cube until dissolved. Leave the mushrooms to soak.
Put the chicken breasts in the chicken stock – the liquid should just cover them, Place over a medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer, then cook for 10 minutes, turning after the first 5 minutes. The liquid should just simmer gently – don’t let it boil. Life the chicken breasts out of the stock with tongs and put them on a board to cool a little.
Place a large non-stick saucepan on the hob over a medium-high heat and add the oil. Fry the sliced chestnut mushrooms for 3 minutes until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook with the mushrooms for 3 minutes until pale golden brown, stirring. Stir in the rice and cook for a minute with the vegetables, stirring constantly until the grains look translucent.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, add a large ladleful of the hot stock to the pan and stir well. As soon as it has been absorbed, add another ladleful. Continue gradually adding stock to the pan until it has all been used and the rice is looking swollen and creamy but isn’t quite tender. This will take about 25 minutes and you need to keep stirring.
Just before the rice is ready, drain the mushrooms through a fine sieve placed over a bowl and reserve the soaking liquid. Roughly chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan with the rice. Stir in the mushroom soaking liquid and cook for a couple of minutes while you prepare the chicken. The risotto should look fairly saucy at this point, so if yours looks quite thick, stir in some extra water.
Cut the chicken into strips and stir them into the rice. Add the Parmesan and heat through for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat and check the seasoning. Stir in the crème fraiche, cover with a lid and leave the risotto to stand for 3-5 minutes before serving.