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    Chicken and Thyme Risotto

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    Chicken and Thyme Risotto

    Risotto can be heavy on the butter and cheese (some versions contain cream as well) whereas this one gets its richness from well-sautéed, mellow-tasting vegetables, good stock, and a slug of herby, flavourful vermouth.

    • Preparation time: 25 minutes
    • Cooking time: 30 minutes
    • Total time: 55 minutes 55 minutes

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
    • 1 small or half a large bulb fennel, finely chopped
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • Inner few ribs of a head of celery, including as many of the leaves as possible, finely chopped
    • 1 litre chicken stock
    • Bundle of fresh thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 skinless chicken breasts, in bite-sized pieces
    • 350g arborio risotto rice
    • 150ml French vermouth such as Noilly Prat
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper

    Method

    1. Heat the oil over a low heat in a large, heavy pan with a lid, add the chopped vegetables and stir. Cover and cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they're really soft and sweet, but be careful not to brown them too much. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small pan, and throw in a few stems of thyme and the bay leaf. Keep it warm on a very low heat.
    2. When the vegetables are well cooked, stir in the chicken and cook until opaque. Add the risotto rice and stir well to coat it in the oil. Add half the vermouth and stir until the liquid has almost evaporated, then add a ladleful of the stock and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed it. Continue adding the stock, ladleful by ladleful, letting the rice absorb each addition, and stirring all the time to release the starches from the rice. When the rice is almost cooked, after about 18 minutes, remove the thyme and bay leaf, season, and add some fresh chopped thyme. Take the pan from the heat, stir in the rest of the vermouth and serve straight away.

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