Chicken and Bacon Risotto
I was never 100% certain about risotto, but my mind was changed a couple of years ago, and now I’m a convert. The Italian dish is light and fluffy, ideal for these summer days, and the basil really lifts the flavour of the risotto, as do the fennel seeds. A swirl of creme fraiche at the end isn’t needed, but gives it an extra creaminess.
For this recipe you’ll need around half a litre of good quality chicken stock. I usually use my own, the recipe for which you can find here. Keep the stock warm whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Begin by frying 4 rashers of smoked, streaky bacon in a large saucepan. I use scissors to chop it into small pieces. Once the bacon fat is browned and crispy, add 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks. Fry until the chicken has browned on the outside. (Alternatively, you can use leftover roast chicken, which you can stir in at the end to warm up).
Stir in an onion, chopped, 6 button mushrooms, sliced, 2 spring onions, sliced finely, and 4 cloves of garlic, crushed. Stir until the onions have softened, before adding a knob of butter and 2 tsp of fennel seeds.
Stir until the butter has melted and begins to bubble, before stirring in 150g of arborio risotto rice. Coat the rice in the butter before adding one ladle at a time of warm chicken stock. As you add one ladle of liquid, stir it in with a spoon to allow the rice to soak it up before adding another one. Continue this process until the risotto is at the consistency you like (Not too watery, but not too dry). Add in two handfuls of grated cheddar and a tablespoon of creme fraiche if you’re using it. If you’re using leftover chicken, add it in at this point. Allow to cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the rice to soften, and stir in a handful of chopped basil leaves. Season to your liking with black pepper.
Serve your chicken and bacon risotto with crusty bread and some crispy bacon on top if you like, as well as a good serving of grated parmesan.