Oct 11, 2010

Herb Roasted Chicken and Artichoke Risotto

This meal has all the makings of early autumn comfort food – creamy artichoke risotto and herb marinated chicken. This may seem like an ambitious dish for an ordinary night, but it’s actually quite simple if you have the time to watch your risotto carefully, and your family or friends will be thoroughly impressed with your efforts.

Both of these recipes are from Jamie Oliver’s website and can be found hereHis site is very easy to navigate and find recipes – he lists categories on the top tabs as well as provides a search engine for anything specific.

The Herb Marinated Chicken was actually quite simple and the end result is a tender and juicy piece of meat, which compliments the creamy risotto perfectly. Neither of us could find fresh summer savory, so we substituted different herbs – Monica used a dried version and fresh rosemary and Caitlin opted for fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano. Other than having to add the lemon slices and wine halfway through the overall cooking, the chicken was really no trouble at all to prepare; once it’s in the oven you can concentrate on the risotto.

The best way to be successful with risotto is to have all of your ingredients prepped before you begin; make sure you have plenty of stock handy, as you’ll be adding it slowly and if you run out before the rice softens, add boiling water – having it ready will save you from a burnt pan of rice, trust us. STIR is the key word with a risotto and having patience while ladling the stock into the rice mixture is definitely needed – but once the dish is finished, it is well worth your patience and a slightly sore arm. Risotto isn’t something you can walk away from, so grab a tasty beverage (perhaps some of the wine you’ll be using), put on some good music and enjoy the process!

A lot of the ingredients are used in both dishes: lemons, garlic, wine – it is wise to choose a versatile dry white wine that could be utilized in both recipes, yet is tasty enough to drink. So make it easier on yourself and use the same wine for both, then any left over will go great with the meal!

One of us used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and the other used bone-in skin-on thighs. Both were amazing. Your choice will depend on what’s available in your market and whether or not you want the fat factor from the skin.

The best way to go about this dish is to prep the chicken, marinate it while you prep the risotto. When that’s done, about 30 minutes, throw your chicken in the oven and start the risotto. You’ll have to take out the chicken after 30 minutes to add the lemons, but other than that, your time will be spent stirring, watching, adding stock, having a swig of wine, singing to your music, stirring more risotto and so on…

Caitlin: There’s something so comforting about risotto – it’s warm, cheesy, buttery and it’s the ultimate comfort food on a blustery day, which just so happened to be the weather outside when I cooked this delicious meal. Risotto and roast chicken – my kitchen was overflowing with aromatic flavors and the gray clouds offered the perfect backdrop to cooking something so warm and savory.

Monica: Risotto does take time and I found myself constantly stirring the rice and remembering episodes of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and his many outbursts complaining that the risotto was “undercooked”. Needless to say since this was my first time preparing risotto, I did fear that my risotto would be undercooked, but I am happy to report this wasn’t the case.

Roast Chicken
Chicken: either bone-in breasts or thighs, or boneless skinless
Fresh Summer Savory: if not available see variations below.
Bunch of Fresh Rosemary
Olive Oil
Few cloves of garlic
Small knob of ginger
Salt and Pepper
2 lemons
Glass of dry White Wine

Artichoke Risotto
4 cups of Chicken Stock
Tbsp of Butter
2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
1 Onion - chopped
2 Cloves Garlic - minced
3 pieces of Celery – chopped
1 cup of Arborio Rice
2 Glasses of Dry White Wine
1 Can Artichoke Hearts - chopped
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp Butter
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (About ¼ cup)

Preheat Oven to 425F.

For the Chicken, sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Take all your spices, olive oil and garlic and either put it in a small blender, or crush with a mortar and pestle. When crushed and combined, rub over your chicken and put in a baking dish, cover and set aside. Thinly slice lemons and set those aside.

Start prepping the risotto: make or heat stock, cut onions, garlic and celery. Make sure you have extra boiling water on hand.

Put the chicken in the oven, set the timer for 30 minutes and start the risotto.

Heat butter and olive oil, then add onions, garlic and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes until softened.

Add the rice and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring. You’ll start to see the rice become translucent, at this point add the artichokes and the wine. Stir and let the rice absorb the wine.

Add the stock, ladlefuls at a time continuing to slowly stir. You’ll want to make sure that the liquid nearly covers the rice, and you’re continuing to slowly stir. It’s important to watch the rice for a few things: you don’t want the rice to stick to the bottom of the pan (when we cover paella, that’s a different story…), you also want to keep enough liquid to barely cover the rice so it has enough to absorb, and lastly you want to keep the heat at a low-medium so it doesn’t burn but cooks slowly. When the rice has absorbed most of the stock, add another ladleful. This process can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. During this time, you’ll have to take the chicken out. Before you do, make sure the risotto has enough stock to cook for a few minutes while you tend to the chicken.

Take the chicken out, add the wine to pan and give it a little stir. Grate a bit of the ginger over each piece, put the sliced lemons on top of the chicken and put the dish back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so.

Go back to the risotto. Stir, watch, pour in stock and repeat until either the stock is gone or the rice is soft. If your stock is gone and the rice is still slightly hard, add the boiling water (see, having it ready is quite handy, huh?).

If your chicken is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest.

When the rice is soft, add the juice from the lemon, butter and Parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat and quickly cover the pan – let sit for about 3-5 minutes.
You want to make sure you serve the risotto when it’s nice and gooey from the butter and cheese, so don’t delay when you take the lid off. Give it good stir and put it on the plate with some freshly grated cheese and the chicken. If there’s any wine left, pour another glass and enjoy with the dish!

Fresh Summer Savory: Monica used a dried version paired with fresh rosemary. Caitlin used fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano.

Jamie uses fresh artichokes in his recipe, which would be great, however we chose to use canned due to availability and time. Trader Joes has canned artichokes for 2 dollars and they taste great when fresh aren’t an option.

You may want to cut the risotto recipe in half depending on how many people you’re cooking for; this serves 6 people easily. If there are only a few of you, you’ll have risotto galore.

If using skin-on chicken spread a little marinade under the skin, it will make the meat juicier and give it more flavor.

Jamie divides his risotto into 2 recipes: risotto bianco (plain white risotto), and artichoke risotto (risotto bianco with artichokes). We’ve combined both above for convenience, as it’s difficult to switch back and forth looking at both recipes while the risotto is cooking.

Drink of Choice
Caitlin: Sauvignon Blanc
Monica: Chardonnay

Caitlin: Death Cab for Cutie, Plans. I chose this album for several reasons, one of which was the weather: it was cold and gray and I was feeling a bit nostalgic, missing different places and different people. The melancholy sounds were a great accompaniment to my mood and my memories.
Monica: This was the perfect meal for a cool autumn evening.  Therefore, my playlist was inspired by the warmth of each dish. I didn’t listen to a particular album, but rather, a perfect compilation of songs…here are my top 5 recommendations (in no particular order): “Dance Me to the End of Love” Leonard Cohen, “Autumn Leaves” Cannonball Adderley, “Sleep the Clock Around” Belle and Sebastian, “Chan Chan” Buena Vista Social Club, and “Quelqu’un M’a Dit” Carla Bruni.

A Recipe to Remember?
Absolutely, we will definitely make this one again.


  1. made this 2 nights ago - definitely a keeper. used bone-in chicken thighs, and whatever herbs i had on hand (fresh flatleaf parsley, dried rosemary and thyme). it was extremely succulent and flavorful! didn't do the risotto b/c we just had that a few nights ago, but will try another night. i was getting a bit tired of my other roasted chicken recipes... so this recipe came along at the perfect time. thanks, ladies!!!