So today is Blog Action Day– Food. I guess that means that are going to be a lot of people out there blogging about food and how they feel about the status of food production in our country. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to post about it but I do know that I promised a recipe a few days ago so this is how I am tying it all together.
About a month ago the 14 chickens we had purchased back in June met their fate. This was the first time I had ever butchered chicken and I learned a lot thanks to good friends who had done this before. I want to point out that these chickens were not organic and were not free range, they were not heritage breeds or any other trendy buzz words. They were chicks bought at Farm and Fleet, the same place their food came from. That food probably came from a large factory and I am ok with that. So why grow my own meat birds? Because I can, because … well just because. I have nothing against store bought chicken. I am pretty sure that store bought chicken is cheaper than growing your own. I know for sure it involves much less work and chicken poop. I decided to grow my own, maybe Hubs ticked me off that day and I wanted to up our population count in retaliation, maybe the chicks were just cute. Doesn’t matter, they met their fate and turns out they are tasty! This recipe is the first time we ate our own chickens.
Chicken Florentine Risotto.
****Warning- This post contains bad food photography.****
I didn’t decide to blog about this recipe right away so we are joining the photo party a little late. Considering these are not very good pictures, I think that’s ok. Start off by taking some bacon and some onion and tossing it into the pan. I was totally winging this, so after taste testing it was decided that 4 pieces of bacon was clearly not enough… so use more. Give the bacon and onions a head start and then add in some little hunks of chicken. Fry everything up until the chicken is cooked and the bacon is crispy. Throw it all on a plate and let it wait for you… I suppose you could do this in 2 pans but then you would have 2 pans to wash. Drain off all but 2Tbs of the bacon grease. Then add 2Tbs of butter. Yes, butter and bacon fat. Do it. Add 1.5 cups of arborio rice into the pan and 2 cloves of crushed garlic.
Have your range on “Almost High” when you are doing this. Stir the rice around for a few minutes until you can see that it’s starting to cook. I would say 4 minutes should do it. Then you are going to want to add some chicken stock to the pan, just enough to cover the rice. This is going to cause all that brown stuff on the bottom of the pan to sudden let loose and the broth is going to look very brown. Fancy people call this “deglazing the pan”.
Now starts the monotonous part of making risotto. The rice is going to soak up the broth, you are going to add a little more, the rice will soak it up and you will add a little more, you will repeat this until you’ve added 5 cups of broth. It takes awhile. about 20-25 minutes. You will want to stir the rice often during this entire time. Don’t go watch your show and forgot to stir it. If you do you will end up with a gluey, yucky mess. While you are working on this step, go ahead and get together your other ingredients.
In addition to this get a regular sized can of diced tomatoes drained and ready to go. Add the mushrooms to the pan when you have about 2 cups of broth left to add to give them time to cook. Then add the chicken and bacon and tomatoes when you have about 1 cup left to add.
So this is pretty close to done. once almost all of the liquid is soaked up I would add a splash of lemon juice to brighten up the flavors. Add some salt and pepper, maybe a little chopped parsley. Now you may be wondering how a blog like mine can have a recipe with very little dairy. Wait for it… wait for it….. Dish up your risotto and….
Voila! Dinner is served. One of the cool things you can do with these leftovers, add another cup of broth and you have soup for lunch the next day! Some crusty bread with butter and you’re set!
I thinks its pretty cool that this meal is made with chickens from my own backyard. The bacon came from the Zwebers when they were down for World Dairy Expo and stayed with us for a night. But the most of the ingredients came from the store. Sure I could have added my own garden fresh tomatoes and onion, I could go buy a mushroom log and grow my own. The Crawfish river is pretty close, I could try my hand at rice farming too I suppose. Maybe get a little lemon tree for the house, The cheese one day will be made from my own cows milk… If I did all that I wouldn’t have time to blog or hold down a job. So instead I will continue to make my grocery list and say thanks to the other farmers out there that make dinner happen. Big, small, local, far away, organic, conventional… I don’t care. We are all in this together, feeding the world.