Mushroom Spinach Risotto with Garlic Chicken

A dish much inspired by watching too much and playing catch up with this season's Hell's Kitchen on my DVR.  It's a show less about cooking than people needing a reality check and eating a piece of humble pie given by Chef Ramsey. I use to enjoy this show quite a bit and not because Chef Ramsey curses at every living thing in sight but because of what a genius concept it was to hire a chef. If I was going to open a world class restaurant I'd make sure whoever I hire doesn't buckle down under pressure and if you can handle a screaming cursing man while cooking, I'm pretty sure you'd be able to handle most pressure simulating scenarios. 

 These recent seasons, however, are starting to be more of trying to impress the viewers (very obviously might I add) than about finding the right chef for a world class kitchen. Seriously is it necessary to put all the contestants on the hot sit in front of a live audience who have no appreciation for food what so ever while the Chef judges each person's "signature" dish? I can accept that if Chef Ramsey spits out the food that it's probably a bad dish but having the audience laugh when that happens is just down right cruel and disrespectful. As if it's not bad enough Chef Ramsey hates it, lets now have people laugh and point as well. Granted some of the contestants are pretty obnoxious but there's no need to stoop down to that level.

A few episodes of badly cooked risotto appetizers later, I suddenly had the urge to make my own, not the bad ones of course. Lobster risotto, doesn't that just make your mouth water? Well unfortunately I don't have any lobster but I do have some arborio rice to make my own risotto of some sort. After browsing through Pinterest for some inspirations I settled on making mushroom spinach risotto with garlic chicken a recipe much similar to this one: Beer Risotto with Mushroom Garlic Chicken by How Sweet It Is. When I have beer lying around one day, I'd definitely want to try her recipe out. Sounds incredible but since I didn't have any beer, I decided to use white cooking wine instead and change a couple of other things here and there. That's the fun in cooking isn't it? Taking a recipe and making it your own.

Since this was going to be my main lunch meals for work for the upcoming week I felt that mushrooms was just not enough for veggies, so of course being the crazy spinach lover that I am, I tossed in 2 cups of spinach to boost the nutritional value of the dish up just a tad. If I'm going to be bad, I mind as well be good about it. A very tasty result and nutritionally sound. I've got my 2 super foods, spinach and mushrooms all in one dish. My body will appreciate.

Makes 4-5 servings
For garlic chicken:
  • ¾ cup of white cooking wine
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • About 16 oz of chicken breast tenders
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced or 1 shallot
  • 1-2 tbsp cream (optional)
For risotto:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3-4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cup of Arborio rice
  • 1 cup of white cooking wine
  • ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp cream (optional)

For garlic chicken
(Note: onions, mushrooms, and spinach are cooked with chicken)
  1. Heat a medium to skillet over high medium heat and add in olive oil and garlic, cook for about 30 seconds and add in chicken breasts. Cook each side for about 3-4 minutes making sure to season with salt and pepper
  2. Add in onions, mushrooms, spinach, and cooking wine. I sautéd separately and then added to the chicken but this method works as well.
  3. If the chicken is cooked after spinach has wilted, then this portion is finished. If not then finish by sticking into the oven and bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes. I used chicken breast tender pieces so they were done cooking and I avoided the whole oven process.
For risotto:
  1. In a separate pan, heat olive oil and add in garlic, lightly sauté for 30 seconds. Add in Arborio rice and cook with garlic and oil for about 3-4 minutes or until it’s slightly translucent.
  2. Add in cooking wine, stirring every once in a while until all the liquid has been absorbed. Then start adding in the chicken stock one cup at a time and each time stirring and waiting until the liquid is fully absorbed before adding in the next cup. Amount of liquid varies from person to person depending on preference of how well they want the rice to be. I used about 1 cup cooking wine and 3 cups chicken stock.
  3. Once it’s near finished, take about ½ of the sauté mushrooms, onions, and spinach from the garlic chicken (without the chicken pieces) and stir into the rice.
  4. Stir in cream and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Top and serve with garlic chicken medley.


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