Porcini and Chicken Risotto

29 Mar

(serves 5)
Porcini mushrooms and risotto are a match made in culinary heaven. Sometimes referred to as the king of mushrooms, porcini are often dried to enhance their flavour and when rehydrated, give a rich nutty ‘soup’ which can be added as stock to the risotto. This particular recipe also introduces some chicken and proscuitto to bring out a meaty undertone, but in a manner which doesn’t compete with the flavour of the porcini.

IngredientsPorcini and Chicken Risotto

  1. Dried Porcini Mushrooms (30g)
  2. Proscuitto, sliced (100g)
  3. Arborio Rice (1.25 cups)
  4. Chicken Leg and Thigh (1)
  5. Shallots (4)
  6. Butter (50g)
  7. Grated Grana Padano (1/4 cup)
  8. Chicken stock cube
  9. Cognac


  1. Simmer your chicken leg in 3 cups of water and one chicken stock cube, for at least an hour. For best results, do this the night before.
  2. After the stock has matured and cooled, remove the skin and shred the soft chicken meat by hand into small bundles of fibres. If you don’t boil the chicken for long enough, you won’t be able to do this.
  3. You also need to soak your porcini in 1 cup of water for about an hour before you begin making the risotto.  Use cold water, as hot water will give the porcini a slight rubbery texture after it rehydrates.
  4. Roll up your proscuitto slices and cut each roll lengthwise into two. Then cut bits of the half rolls to arrive at small rectangular slivers. On medium heat in a non-stick pan, fry the proscuitto to a crisp with 2T of olive oil. Sprinkle in 1/2 t of sugar and then remove the meat using a strainer for later use. Return the dripped oil to the pan.
  5. Julienne the shallots into small pieces that are the size of rice grains and fry them in the retained oil plus an additional 2T of olive oil to form a sofritto. Its best you use the same pan without washing. Stir-fry under low heat until the shallots are limp, taking care not to caramelize them. 

Stop here if you are preparing ahead of time, for this marks the point of no return. Once you begin the next stage, you’ll need to serve the risotto soon after it is done.

  1. Turn up the heat on the pan and add the rice into the soffritto, stirring well to coat the kernels with oil. Add the shredded chicken and continue to stir-fry for 5 minutes or so. Seperately, reheat your chicken stock to a boil.
  2.  At this stage it is usual to add some sort of wine to the rice but in this case, we’ll be adding the procini and the flavoursome water used in their soaking instead. Reduce the heat to produce a low simmer.  Stir until the risotto begins to dry, then proceed to ladle in the hot chicken stock. Add just a ladle of stock each time, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Continue doing this for about 20 minutes and when the stock runs out, just use plain water instead.
  3. When your risotto becomes creamy and al dente and you can let it almost dry up, after which you turn off the heat.  Total simmering time varies a bit with the type of grain you are using, so rely on taste and appearance to decide if the risotto is done and not a timer.
  4. Cut a ¼ slab of butter into 1 cm cubes and mix it with finely grated grana padano, a milder hard cheese which doesn’t crowd out the porcini flavour. This forms the mantecatura, which is stirred in towards the end when risotto is made.  In addition, sprinkle on some black pepper and 2T of brandy. After tasting, you may add a bit of salt or more cheese as a final adjustment if you deem necessary.
  5. Cover the pot and let the risotto rest for 5 minutes so that it can absorb a bit more liquid and fluff up. Garnish with the crispy procuitto as the final touch.

NotesDried Porcini

  • My first risotto recipe contains many of the finer points on making risotto, which I have opted not to repeat here. You should refer to that post if you don’ make risotto often.  
  • 30g sounds like a really small amount to use, but as the mushrooms are dessicated, this works out to be almost a cup in volume.
  • I know I’ve said don’t use stock cubes for risotto, but this is a special case. The salt content is taken into account in the recipe.
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Posted by on March 29, 2010 in Italian, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipe


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