Saturday, 8 October 2011

Mushroom and Chicken Spelt Risotto

This is a dish inspired by the Spelt and Porcini Risotto I had at Skylon Restaurant at the South Bank. A place worth visiting for good food and lovely views across the river. 
I realise the pictures here are a little shaky. I was working in low light and did not want to use the flash, since indoors it always seems to mess up the colours. Apologies. But you can still get the general idea of the dish and how it is made.

Serves 2


3 chicken thighs, skin on (or use leftover roast chicken)
10g dried porcini
1 shallot/½ small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 glass vermouth
140g spelt
5 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
750ml stock
4 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

  2. Soak the porcini in half a mug of boiling water for at least half an hour.

  3. Roast the chicken thighs in the oven, at around 180°C for around 25-30 mins, until cooked. Leave to cool, remove skin and break up into small bite sized pieces.

  4. Drain the porcini, try to squeeze out the excess water, and chop finely.

  5. Put on another pan with the hot stock in it, keeping it warm. I put it on a very low heat with the lid on.

  6. Melt the butter in a pan, and add the olive oil and mix together. Now add the onion/shallot and fry for 5 minutes.

  7. Now add the chestnut mushrooms and garlic and fry for another 2 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the garlic from burning.

  8. Add the drained porcini and fry for another 5 minutes.

  9. Add the spelt, turn up the heat slightly and toast the grains for around 2 minutes, stirring frequently. This ensures the tough shell of the grain can take in the vermouth and stock you will be adding shortly.

  10. Now add the vermouth, and allow the alcohol to burn off, about 3-5 minutes.

  11. Now comes the adding of the stock and the most labour intensive part of the dish. Add the stock, ladle by ladle, stirring as you go, until the liquid disappears. You will be doing this for a long time as the cooking time for spelt is pretty long and in any even much longer than for risotto rice. Keep going for about 40-45 minutes. Check the spelt is cooked, as you may need to cook a little longer.

  12. Now add the cooked chicken, mix thoroughly and ensure the chicken is heated through. 
  13. Serve in bowls topped with the grated parmesan.

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