Chicken leftovers – Chicken, Lemon and Pea Risotto

As promised below is the first of the two dishes I cooked to using up leftover chicken. I only started roasting whole chickens sometime last year, so I have fairly limited experience and so far the leftovers have been turned into nacho’s or mixed with pesto and pasta (both great weeknight meals). Nacho’s are a rare treat so pasta and pesto usually won out, so I felt it was time I expanded my range of recipes.

I often thought of adding the chicken to a risotto but never quite got round to it. After reading Donna Hay’s Simple essentials Chicken, I decided to try a risotto inspired by one of her recipes (Baked chicken, lemon and pea risotto). Her’s used uncooked chicken breasts and was baked in the oven, however I have tried a baked risotto before (a Bill Granger recipe – one of my favorite chef’s no less) but it failed to win me over. A baked risotto takes roughly the same amount of time as the usual method but has the convenience of not requiring you to stand over it stirring. However for me the end result is not as good and I’ve grown to quiet enjoy the stirring! and it’s quiet therapeutic too. I’ve been known to ring my mum and catch up whilst cooking a risotto before! After a particularly hectic day at work on Monday – 30-40 minutes in the kitchen (and all that stirring) was exactly what I needed to unwind. The finished dish was delicious and very spring like.

Chicken, Lemon and Pea Risotto
Inspired by Donna Hay

Serves 2
Olive oil
small onion, peeled and thinly diced
stick of celery, thinly diced (optional)
1 garlic glove, peeled and thinly chopped
zest of half a lemon
150g Arborio rice
Good splash of dry white wine
Approximately 600ml Chicken stock
Good handful of frozen peas
100g shredded cooked chicken, white, brown meat or a mixture
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
handful of parmesan cheese

  • Heat the stock in a small saucepan.
  • Heat a good splash of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot add the onion and celery and sweat (with the lid on), stirring occasionally until soft but not brown (5-10 mins).
  • Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for a few minutes, again stirring frequently.
  • Add the rice and turn up the heat. Stir to coat the rice (from here on you need to stir much more frequently to stop the rice sticking or burning and also to release the starch to make it deliciously creamy).
  • You should notice the rice become translucent and at this point you need to add the wine and continue to stir.
  • Once the wine has been absorbed by the rice, add the first ladle of stock and turn the heat back down to medium. Keep stirring.
  • Once this ladle of stock has been fully absorbed by the rice, add another ladle, stir and repeat until the rice is cooked (try it – is it soft with a little bit of bite left? Yes – then move on to the next step, No – add more stock).
  • Add the frozen pea before the last couple of ladles so they have time to cook.
  • Once the rice and peas are cooked, remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and chicken. Stir to mix well, season to taste.
  • Scatter the parmeson (and a few small knobs of butter if you like) over the top, replace the lid and leave to become oozy/creamy ( few minutes).
  • Once the cheese and butter(if using) have melted, stir well and serve.
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