Thinking ahead to the weekend, I searched through the recipes of one of my favourite chefs, Donna Hay, and found just what I wanted to cook – a Crispy Chicken Breast with Cauliflower Risotto recipe.
This recipe sounds perfect – the crispy skin outside of the succulent chicken breast, partnered with the soft, comforting flavour of finely chopped cauliflower risotto, given extra flavour, almost middle-eastern, with the addition of gently sweated onion and garlic and topped off with crunchy walnuts and crispy sage. Who wouldn’t want to eat such a fantastic feast.
Probably the most important aspect of this dish is to try and buy the best chicken breast you can find. Definitely free range, organic if possible – the extra flavour will be worth the extra pennies spent. I would rather have Cheese and Biscuits for the next meal, than buy the ‘basic’ chicken portions from the Supermarket. So have a look at this picture, and tell me it doesn’t make your mouth water.
- 500g cauliflower, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 100g unsalted butter
- 1 small brown onion,finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ⅓ cup (80ml) dry white wine
- 1½ cups (300g) arborio (risotto) rice
- 1.5 litres good hot chicken stock
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 x 200g chicken breast fillets, skin on and if possible, wing bone in
- Sea salt and black cracked pepper
- ½ cup (50g) walnuts
- 1 cup sage leaves
- mascarpone cheese to serve
- Place cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor and, with short pulses, process until the mixture is finely chopped.
- Melt half the butter in a large deep-sided frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 - 5 mins or until softened. Add the wine and cook for 2 mins. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 1 - 2 mins.
- Cook, stirring frequently for 18 mins while adding the stock, 1 cup (250ml) at a time, allowing it to absorb between each addition.
- Add the cauliflower and cook for a further 5 - 7 mins.
- Whilst the risotto is cooking, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper and cook for 3 - 4 mins or until the skin is golden and crisp. Turn over, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for a further 4 - 5 mins or until thoroughly cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan, cover loosely with aluminium foil and set aside.
- Wipe out the pan and return to medium heat. Add the walnuts, sage and remaining butter and cook gently for 2 - 3 mins or until browned, and the sage is crisp.(The sage needs gentle handling when crisp).
- Divide the risotto between plates and top with the mascarpone and walnut sage butter. Serve with the chicken.
Well, that’s part of our weekend food sorted out. I must confess, I’m really looking forward to both making and eating this Crispy Chicken Breast with Cauliflower Risotto recipe. One: I just love making risotto, watching the stock being absorbed slowly into the rice, minute by minute (OK, maybe that’s just sad, but I don’t care) and Two: the dish just looks fantastic to eat. A big ‘Thank-you” to Donna Hay, and her fabulous recipe creations.