simple and easy
A couple of years ago, I was on holiday in Indonesia. I was strolling around a small town called Yogyakarta. It was a beautiful place to visit with a lot of rickshaws and scooters filling the streets, just like many places in southeast Asia.
When It was time to eat met, and my girlfriend back then would alternately pick a place. She would pick a warung, small family-owned business, and I would choose one of these little entrepreneurs on the street. I loved these tiny eateries. They would sell al kinds of Javanese food. Different types of nasi’s and bakmi’s, lots of fried small snacks, small pieces of chicken meat on sticks, marinated in sauce, and soups.
One day, when we were doing some sightseeing, I stopped at one of those places to get a Soto soup. The owner, a lovely, spry old lady, told me to sit behind her cart, where she had laid a plastic rug, and wait while she prepares it for me. It must have been her place for decades. Then she came over and served me a soup that I still remember till this last day.
It wasn’t the vegetables or meat she had used, although they tasted good as well. But the stock! Oh, the stock, it was like she spends all those years figuring out how to boil it down to perfections. So rich in flavor and light at the same time. You could have put a piece of rubber in it, and it would still have been great.
After I found out of this place, I came back every day until we left Yogyakarta. I even tried to get the recipe, but she didn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Indonesian.
What was not in my favor was that I was used to making soup with stock cubes.
What didn’t help was that I was used to making soup with stock cubes. When I was growing up, I didn’t even know you could make stock from vegetables or/and meat. I just thought Everybody used cubes. And why not. I get the easy part, you can buy a couple of cubes and store them. When you need them, you boil some water, let it dissolve, and use it for whatever you want.
But the thing is, it just doesn’t taste as good.
The ones I buy usually have this robust and hardened taste. And I’m not even talking about the salt. It’s always way too salty. Ok, maybe not the more expensive ones. But they’re more expensive. And, still don’t taste good as the one you make yourself. Everything just tastes better if it’s homemade.
When it comes to risotto, I like to make my broth. The rice absorbs the liquid so you can understand why it is essential to use a suitable substance. It defines the taste of your dish.
So here’s an easy recipe you can make to use for your risotto.
Pan-roasted Chicken and Lemon Risotto
- 1 Lemon
- 3 tsp Olive oil
- 9 ounces or 250 grams Boneless and skinless chicken breast
- 5,5 ounces or 160 grams Carnaroli rice or Arborio rice
- 1 tsp Parsley Finely chopped
- 4 tsp or 20 grams Butter flakes
- 4 tsp or 20 grams Parmesan Grated
- ½ cup or 50 ml Dry white wine
- 4 cups or 1 l Chicken (or vegetable) broth
- Put the broth on high heat so, it is almost boiling when you arrive at the rice part.Take a peeler and peel off the skin, an inchwide length, of the lemon, from top to bottom. Blanch it, and then cut it into tiny pieces. Now, cut the lemon in half, squeeze it and save the juice.
- Slice the boneless and skinless chicken breasts into strips of one inch/ 2/3 centimeters. In a bowl, mix the chicken with two tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
- Put a saute pan on low heat and let it get hot and add olive oil. Then gently fry the chopped onion with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of cumin till it gets soft. Add the rice and stir it till it gets warm, has a nutty smell, and gets a bit translucent.
- Put a grill pan on high heat and let it get hot. Turn up the heat on the saucepan to medium, add the wine. Wait till all the wine is evaporated and absorbed, while gently stirring the rice. Then, add one tablespoon of lemon juice and a big ladle of broth. Once the broth is absorbed, add a new spoon. Keep repeating this till the rice is ready; it should take about 16 to 19 minutes. When the rice is alsmost done, add another tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Meanwhile, grill the chicken till done. Should take 6 to 8 minutes. When they're finished, cut them in thin slices.
- If the rice has the consistency you want, put the fire out. Now, add the finely cut lemon peel, chopped parsley, parmesan, butter, slices of chicken, and give it one last stir. Cover the pan and let it rest for a minute. You’re ready to serve.