This is one of the finest risotto dishes we’ve ever created. The lemon and thyme combine brilliantly with the fennel and golden brown chicken to create a stunning dish that’ll impress easily without being too taxing in terms of preparation time. It should take around 30-35 minute overall to finish the chicken, fennel and lemon risotto, but it’ll be one that everyone will remember for a while.
Chicken, fennel and lemon risotto ingredients (serves 2):
• 500g chicken fillets (sliced into small chunks)
• 150g Italian risotto rice
• 1 onion (peeled and chopped finely)
• 3 small and firm fennel bulbs (peel the outer layer and chop the heart)
• 1 lemon
• Parmesan cheese
• A glass of white wine
• 850ml chicken stock
• Lemon thyme (finely chopped, plus around 7 sprigs on their own)
• Dried Italian herbs
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper
Chicken, fennel and lemon risotto recipe:
1. Add a table spoon of the olive oil to a large pan over a medium-low heat (reduce the heat if things get too hot) and throw in the onion for a minute before adding the risotto rice for no more than a couple of minutes to coat in oil and weaken the surface slightly. Make sure you stir frequently and take the pan off the heat while you work on step 2.
2. In a separate pan start to fry the chicken over a medium-high heat with a little olive oil, a good pinch of turmeric and salt & pepper to season. Again, keep things moving evenly to get a good golden coating for the chicken.
3. Return the risotto pan to the heat and start the process of adding incremental amounts of chicken stock, stirring well throughout. Overall, this process should take about 20-22 minutes, as you add a little more of the stock as it absorbs. Setting a timer is a good idea to make sure you get a good creamy texture to the risotto without letting it get too mushy.
4. As soon as you’ve got the process of adding the stock underway, add the fennel, a good squeeze of lemon juice and finely chopped lemon thyme to the chicken pan and lower the heat slightly to cook the fennel. It’s a bit of a juggling act between the two pans, but it’ll be worth it when you taste it.
5. Add the spare sprigs of lemon thyme to the risotto and continue the stock and stir process. These are just for taste, so remember to remove them before you serve.
6. In the last five minutes add the glass of wine, the browned chicken, fennel, and lemon thyme as well as a good squeeze of lemon juice to the risotto pan and continue the stirring process. If you run out of stock before your timer goes off just add a little water. The aim is have a good creamy texture with fluffy rice that still retains a little firmness.
7. Once the timer goes off grate the parmesan cheese (as much as you like) over the top and stir. This will help you achieve the creamy texture as tge cheese melts and binds with the starch from the rice (little taste tests are definitely advisable). Make sure you remove the sprigs of lemon thyme and serve with shavings of parmesan.