Simone's Kitchen

Risotto! Daring Cooks march 2010

Risotto |

Aha! That was sort of my reaction when I read about the Daring Cooks challenge for this month. The challenge consisted of two parts; first making your own chicken stock from scratch and two, making your own risotto with that stock. Now to be honest; making risotto is not really a challenge as I have done that a zillion times. Just love the stuff… 🙂

Making my own stock however was still on the todo list so a perfect challenge at the perfect time! But let’s first start with the necessary lines

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.


The instructions on the recipe called for using one whole chicken and some chicken bones… Since we normally only eat chicken fillets, I didn’t have any leftover bones or carcass of any chicken lying around and neither do we have a butcher nearby so I just used one whole chicken and a couple of chicken legs instead. It worked fine, but I will use leftover bones next time when I make myself a whole chicken (soon to come!)

The chicken first had to be brought to a boil so you could get rid of some of the scum that comes out of the poor animal… I was actually glad I have such a huge souppan. I think I got it from my parents ages ago when I first started living on my own (what where they thinking? It’s large enough to feed an entire It easily fit the chicken and the legs and after it was brought to a boil and cleaned of a bit, the veggies and spices where added. I was convinced I had cinnamon sticks lying around but I couldn’t find them anywhere so I left those out. Too bad really as I love cinnamon, but not enough apparently to run back to the store. I did brown the onions so that the stock would have a little bit of color.

The whole pot happily bubbled away for about 1,5 hour at which point I had to remove the chicken who was already falling apart. We let it cool of and then plucked all the meat from the bones. Loads of chicken!

The stock we ended up with after about three hours in total of cooking time, was quite substantial too. I didn’t really measure but let’s just say I have a couple of liter of chickenstock in the freezer right now!

So making the stock was pretty straightforward and I love the fact that you can really throw in any kind of leftovers you want. I did find the taste a little bit bland but that is probably due to my lack of adding a few things. Didn’t have the cinnamon and then forgot the allspice… Tsss… I pretty much stuck to the recipe for the stock but I will season it differently for next time. Where I bought a couple of ingredients this time I will not do that next time, but will purely work with leftover stuff. That is the whole point afterall of making stock I think. It’s just perfect for leftovers and bones. But I now know that it is essentially incredibly easy to do, so that is good to know.

So then came the fun part of making the risotto which was the next day. I figured I should use some of the chicken at least in the risotto, so I did that. I don’t particularly like cooked chicken, so I baked them until the were a bit brown and crispy and had a lovely taste.

I had peas in the freezer so I used those, added some mushrooms, put some crumpled baconbits on top as well as parmesan and voila… Beautiful meal! I have to say that the risotto in the photos might look a bit dry but that is because we ate most of it and then I shot the leftovers the day after! So I did reheat it but with risotto that tends to mean that it becomes a bit dryer than it should be. Still very tasty though. Plus I didn’t have any leftover bacon so they photos did without. But adding the bacon is really lovely as it gives a nice crunch to the total.

Due to the fact that the stock was a bit bland I used part of a chicken stock cube to season it a bit as well as some other things I threw in (and can’t remember) but overall delicious meal!

Here are the recipes!


Chicken Stock
  • 1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg
  • chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg
  • 2 onions roughly diced
  • 1 medium leek - white part only roughly diced
  • 2 sticks celery roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns Any type of whole peppercorn will do
  • 2 bay leaves fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.
  • peel of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • Risotto BaseIngredients:
  • olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
  • 1 small onion quatered
  • rice 14 oz 400g
  • Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
  • white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
  • chicken or vegetable stock simmering 2 pints 1 L
  1. Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
  2. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
  3. Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
  4. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
  5. Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
  6. Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
  7. Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 
The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.
Recipe Notes
  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
  2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
  3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
  5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
  7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
  8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.



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  1. Risotto is fun to make (I like stirring whilst I sip wine!) and good on you for going the extra step and making your own stock! Looks beautiful Simone! And I particularly love that last pic!

  2. Your risotto looks gorgeous. Excellent pic. I love risotto. We eat roast chicken a lot so I always have chicken stock in the freezer. I think the stock is nicer from roasted bones but that’s just me. You did a great job

  3. I’ve never tried to make Risotto before, thanks for sharing.

  4. Interesting to use a cinnamon stick for chicken stock! I am surprised it wasn’t as flavourful as you would expect but nevertheless – it looks delicious (and adding a cube of chicken flavour always helps! :))

  5. What courage to make your own stock: it is something I dream of doing but never have although I do make homemade chicken soup which, I imagine, is pretty much the same thing! And I always throw in a chicken bouillon cube (shhh, that’s my secret!) as well as a head of fennel, sliced, a several whole, peeled garlic cloves.

    Your risotto is beautiful and I love making it, do all the time. And you are so right: risotto is so perfect for just anything you may want to throw in. Love it! As always, gorgeous photos!

  6. Simone, I love your photos. Who else could take a great photo of risotto? BRAVA. We often have roasted chicken. It’s easy to do and we get several meals out of it! After a couple of meals, I put the carcass in a pan with carrots and celery and whatever else I feel like to make stock. The roasted bones give more flavor to the stock, I think. Then the last meal is often risotto. YUM! Thanks for the tip about the bacon!

  7. I am pretty much on your level here, made risotto a million times, but stock I make only by mistake when I do a roast chicken…….as for your photos, I am definitely not on your level!!!.

  8. Oh! what a gorgeous dish! I am surprised the broth wasn’t as flavorful but that besides! Agree with you. it’s definitely so easy to make again…

  9. I always love your pictures, especially the one with your husband.
    I love the bacon in your risotto! GOnna try that the next time to.

  10. Love your kitchen picture! Makes me feel okay about the mass of stuff I seem to gather when cooking. Well done!

  11. I love making risotto on a long weekend afternoon when I can stir for a long time at the stove – there is something relaxing about it! The stock and risotto look wonderful.

  12. I love this combination of ingredients. And the photographs are beautiful, as always! Wonderful job!

    We had problems of blandness the first time we made chicken stock, too. In the end, we just let it simmer for longer, and added a lot more spices, especially salt. I know, too much sodium is bad for us, but… you gotta have flavour!

  13. Risotto is one of my favorite things to make, and with a freshly made homemade stock yours must have been great! Love the shards of parm on top too.

  14. Risotto is my second favourite meal just after pasta 😉 I cook it quite often, never tried to make my own stock though. It’s still on my list 🙂 I think you did a great job here, even if the stock wasn’t as flavourful.

  15. As always..I’m totally blown away by your DK dish and photos. Your risotto looks straight out of a magazine and love, love, love the B and W hectic kitchen photo (and your naked chicken lol). You never cease to astound me with your talent in the kitchen and behind the camera 🙂

  16. I second Kate – whenever I make broth I always use the carcass of a roasted chicken, which makes a night-and-day difference to the flavour. I also usually remove the bulk of the meat from the cooled roasted chicken before I boil it, which saves having to attack the boiling hot carcass later. (I’m aware I could let it cool but usually after a couple hours of simmering I’m so ravenous for the soup that I can’t wait.)

    Another sneaky trick I use is to save the drippings from the roasted chicken. I let them cool while sitting undisturbed – the fat rises above the juices, which will start to thicken and turn into a jelly before the fat solidifies. Then I pour off all the fat, and save the jelly and the browned bits to add to the stock with the carcass. Makes a huge difference, I promise you! I never use any spices, nor do I have to use Oxo cubes. 🙂

  17. Your photos are gorgeous as usual. I like the combination of mushrooms, bacon and peas..yum!

  18. i love love risotto – it’s easy and so satisfying. Homemade chicken stock is the best so i can seriously imagine the intense flavors here.

  19. Peas, bacon and mushrooms yum yum in my tum LOL LOL. Your photos as always are superb and so professional but that last one is above special. And that photo of your husband with the stock is very good I love black and white photos. I’m so glad you have done chicken stock now – maybe some more salt might have helped. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia. And thanks for your kind comments on my blog.

  20. Discovered your site through your comment on Nina’s site and glad I did! Your risotto looks very more-ish.

  21. I love risotto, urs looks perfect!!

  22. Great pictures as usual! I love the final picture of your risotto!

  23. I have soft spot for your beautiful photos. And you have good eyes when it comes to choosing props. Just love your presentation..

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  24. Love that you made your own stock Simone. Love the detailed platter too. Gorgeous pictures & beautiful risotto!

  25. What a delicious looking Risotto! Especially with your homemade stock! I usually use a roasted chicken carcass for my stock too. I never started one with a raw chicken. Sorry it didn’t turn out as well as you hoped for all that work!

  26. Home made stock is key to a good risotto. I have actually come to realise that risotto is one of the best comfort foods ever. Creamy, warm, and filling!

  27. I will never turn down a risotto, especially yours!

  28. your risotto looks gorgeous!

  29. Pingback: How not to cook risotto – cooking club! »

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