Lemon Chicken Risotto

July 15, 2010

Lemon chicken risotto sprinkled with parmesan cheese before serving

I came across this recipe for Lemon Chicken Risotto while looking for ideas for using up leftover chicken.  It’s from Supper for a Song: Creative Comfort Food for the Resourceful Cook by Tamasin Day-Lewis.  Very good!

Gathering ingredients. I used arborio rice.

Lemon Risotto Chicken
Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 shallots, peeled and finely minced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1-1/3 c risotto rice
4 c vegetable or chicken stock
6 sage leaves, rolled up and shredded
2 small sprigs of rosemary, chopped
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 egg yolk
4 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
4 Tbsp heavy cream
salt and pepper
3/4 c cooked chicken meat, diced

Heat the olive oil with half the butter in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, and add the shallots and celery.  Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes until softened (this is a soffritto).

Shallots and celery soffritto, with broth heating in another pot

Add the risotto rice and stir to coat for a couple of minutes.

Stirring in the arborio rice

Heat the stock and keep it at simmering point throughout the cooking.  Pour about 1/2 c onto the rice and stir vigorously until most of it has been absorbed, then add some more and stir again until absorbed.  Continue in this way, adding chopped mixed herbs and lemon zest roughly halfway through cooking, which takes about 20 to 22 minutes altogether.

Sprig of rosemary from my garden

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk, half the lemon juice, the Parmesan, and the cream, then add a generous amount of black pepper.  Mix well with a fork.

When the rice is cooked al dente, take the pan from the heat and stir in the egg and cream mixture, cooked chicken, and the remaining butter.  Add another ladleful of hot stock.

Lemon chicken risotto

Cover the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes off the heat.  Adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon juice if you think it is needed.  Give the pan a short stir and serve at once, with extra Parmesan if desired.

Lavender-Lemon Bars

July 9, 2010

Lavender-Lemon Bars

I love the tart and tangy taste of lemon bars. This recipe, which I found in Jon Shook’s and Vinny Dotolo’s Two Dudes One Pan: Maximum Flavor from a Minimalist Kitchen, uses lavender in the crust.  The recipe calls for dried lavender, but fresh lavender works, too, according to the authors.  The lavender crust scented the house with a wonderful, homey smell while it was baking.

Lavender-Lemon Bars

For the Crust:
3/4 c (1-1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus butter to grease pan
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting top of bars
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp dried lavender

For the Filling:
6 large eggs
1-1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c all-purpose flour
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
1 c plus 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 5 or 6 lemons)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and set aside.

To make the crust, combine flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt and dried lavender.  Add the butter and work with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal. (I processed in my food processor.)  Transfer the mixture to the baking pan and press firmly into an even layer.  Bake until the crust is just starting to turn color, 20 to 25 minutes, and set aside to cool completely.

Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and flour in a large bowl.  Mix in the lemon zest and juice and pour the filling over the baked crust.  Bake until the custard is completely set with only a slight jiggle when you shake the pan, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let the bars cool completely.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar.  Then refrigerate.

Patting down the lavender-studded crust

First taste of fresh lavender-lemon bars

Tart and tangy

Red Berries

June 28, 2010

Red raspberries, some ripe for the picking

Succulent red strawberry

“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”
     — Wendell Berry (whose name is very apt for this quote!) 

I wanted to serve fresh strawberries for dessert accompanied by some kind of lemon cake.  So I looked through my stash of yet-to-be-tried recipes and found this one from Cupcakes:  Luscious Bakeshop Favorites from Your Home Kitchen by Shelly Kaldunski: 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes 

1 c all-purpose flour
1-1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/4 c sour cream 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. (I used cupcake liners instead.) 

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, 2 – 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon extract, and beat until combined.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.  Add the sour cream and beat until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 – 20 minutes.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. 

If desired, spoon a lemon glaze over the cupcakes.  The glazed cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcake


Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes ready for glaze