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One of my recent cooking goals has been to learn to make a great risotto, and my first attempt, thanks to this recipe, was successful. The layers of flavor and texture – sweet caramelized onions, creamy rice, tangy balsamic vinegar, and a subtle splash of white wine – leave your palate highly satisfied. Granted, it took forever, but it was completely worth it, especially since there was very little chopping, cutting, peeling, etc. And I love that this recipe has chicken in it, so it’s a complete meal. A side of roasted veggies would be a delightful compliment to the dish.

A few notes on the preparation and the ingredients I used:
– The original recipe didn’t call for garlic, but I love it, so I added it in at the end of the caramelization of the onions. Adding it before this will result in the garlic burning and drying up.
– I used homemade chicken stock, which resulted in the dish needing to be salted a bit more than I had anticipated, but I fear that using chicken boullion cubes would be too salty. If you have homemade broth or boxed broth, that would be preferable. One of the secrets to risotto is to make sure the broth is hot when you add it to the rice. This keeps the cooking process on track and keeps the rice from sticking together.
– I used just one b/s chicken breast to make it more inexpensive. I put it on a pan, salted, peppered, and sprinkled garlic powder on it, and baked it for about 20 minutes, until just cooked through. Then I let it cool and chopped it into small pieces.
– The white wine doesn’t have to be good quality. I’m pretty sure the wine I bought was one of the poorest quality wines ever sold (it was only $2 for a large bottle). But because it cooked for so long, the flavor was diffused and the dish tasted wonderful.
– The recipe instructs the onions to be caramelized first, and then set aside while the rice cooks. I did this the first time I made it, but upon further reflection I think a multi-tasking cook would easily be able to caramelize the onions while stirring the rice, which would really cut down on the cooking time a lot.

I saw a cute idea in a magazine for a dinner party where everyone gets to take turns stirring the risotto while munching on appetizers and talking, with music playing in the background. And because it smells so wonderful while cooking, your guests will be anticipating a mouth-watering epicurean delight, and when you serve this meal, perhaps garnished with some fresh herbs, they will not be disappointed!

Roasted Chicken with Carmelized Onion Risotto
From http://www.allrecipes.com

Prep Time: 15 MinutesCook Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 45 MinutesYields: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio
rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 cups hot chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped cooked
chicken breast
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and saute for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are a dark golden brown. Remove from heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar and set aside.
2.
Heat the remaining oil in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the rice and mix well. Let heat for about 2 minutes, then pour in the wine. Reduce heat to medium low and start pouring in the broth about 1 cup at a time. Add more broth as each cup is absorbed. Continue in this manner until all the broth is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
3.
Stir in the reserved onion mixture and allow to heat through. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish each serving with fresh thyme.

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