Lemony Chicken Risotto with Peas.

A couple years ago, our friend Richard gave us a challenge: to only make meals using ingredients you already have. Use up everything in your cabinet, fridge, or freezer before buying new food. I kind of scoffed at the idea at the time, "oh that's ridiculous, what about fresh fruits and vegetables?" "What if I'm only left with a bag of dried pinto beans, Nutella, and some cream of mushroom soup?" (That's impossible, Nutella's always the first to go). After a while, I sort of forgot about the whole notion until recently. I still think I would have a really hard time going through all of my ingredients before picking something up at the grocery store (I would come up with some delicious interesting recipes, though...right?), however it has made me think a little more about what I buy, vs what we have.
I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but with the bombardment of blogs and recipes on the internet--don't even get me started on my Pinterest addiction, I have gotten into the habit of meal planning based on what looks good, buying all sorts of new and wonderful ingredients, without even checking to see what I already have. I used to be great at trying to come up with meals based on what we had in stock, but I've let that slip. As I'm now into my last week of work, about to take on the challenge of being a full-time mom, I've realized that we need to be smarter with our money--starting in the kitchen.
I had all the things!
I've had this box of risotto since...uh...pre-Sam? I usually buy Arborio rice in bulk, but I think when we last ran out, the grocery store only had this box. So, I finally decided to make it. I love risotto, and I used to make it all the time. But post baby, I've basically ignored any recipe that requires stirring...or heck attention for more than 15 minutes. Even though Tom has been a huge help in the kitchen (I mean, he does all the dishes--cleans up my messes! It's the best!) I've still relied on easy, quick recipes. The best thing about risotto is that it's very (deceptively) easy, it just requires that attention that I didn't want to give, until now.
In sticking with my, lets-see-what-we-have challenge, I had all of the ingredients on hand. The Meyer lemon has been sitting in my fruit bowl for about two weeks now, chicken that needed to be eaten, frozen spring peas, I used up one of my three (yes, three!) open bottles of white wine in the fridge, I used one of my two onions, and I almost always have a block of Parmesan. I had chicken stock on hand (1.5 cartons!) which is unusual because I tend to buy that specifically for recipes. I was pretty proud of myself for throwing this together, and it was pretty tasty, with ingredients we already had.
I've made so many risotto recipes that I kind of winged it, but it's loosely based on this recipe from theKitchn.
The risotto was even better the next day, after we let it sit for a while, and of course, we topped it with Sriracha.
It's not the most beautiful picture, but it was delicious!
Lemony Chicken Risotto with Peas
loosly adapted from Nealey Dozier at theKitchn
makes about 8 servings

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, diced 
16 oz Arborio rice (box equaled about 2 1/4 cups)

Zest from one lemon--about 1 tsp
1 cup dry white wine

Juice from one lemon 
5 cups chicken stock

10oz  fresh or frozen green peas
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, heat the chicken stock on low, so that it's barely simmering. 

Meanwhile, heat the butter and olive oil on medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed skillet. Add the onions to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Once the onions are translucent and you can smell the garlic, add the diced chicken. Cook the chicken until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  

Add the rice and the lemon zest. Stir to combine, letting the rice soak up any butter in the pan. After about a minute add in the wine (and have a glass too, while you're at it). Stir, making sure to scrape up any browned-bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring until all the wine has been absorbed by the rice. Then, a half a cup at a time, add the warm chicken stock. Making sure that the rice absorbed all the liquid before adding more. After adding about 4 cups of stock, add the peas and lemon juice and stir. Continue adding stock until it has all been absorbed, and rice is al dente. Add the Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

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