I like risotto and rice dishes made with arborio rice, but really, who has time to stand there stirring for 45 minutes? Especially with two or three kids snapping at the heels, whinging about how hungry they are. So I love cooking oven-baked risotto-style meals, which are much easier to put together. These recipes follow the initial steps of risotto-making, but instead of stirring the stock in, one ladleful at a time, it’s added all at once and put into the oven to absorb.
The resulting rice is not quite as creamy as properly made risotto, but stirring in some parmesan and even butter at the end can bring it close.
I’ve found that the trick with these recipes is to make sure the stock is brought to a simmer just before it’s added to the dish. I’ve tried a few variations of these recipes and this seems to be the critical step for making sure the rice cooks properly.
This particular recipe is not a cheesy risotto, however. Instead it has a Spanish influence, with chorizo sausage and smoky paprika. It comes from an Australian Women’s Weekly special issue I picked up last year.
Oven-baked Chicken and Chorizo Risotto
Adapted from Winter Favourites Special 2011, published by The Australian Women’s Weekly
Serves 4-64 c (1L) chicken stock 1 Tbs olive oil 2 chorizo sausages, sliced thinly 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-3 cm chunks 3 small onions, chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 large red capsicum, sliced thinly 2 c arborio rice 2 tsp smoked paprika 3/4 c dry white wine 1/2 c coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 180C.
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan (keep covered so it doesn’t evaporate too much).
Heat 1/2 Tbs olive oil over high heat in a large dutch oven or flameproof casserole dish with a lid. Fry the chorizo until it is browned all over. Remove from dish. If necessary, pour out excess oil so that about 1 Tbs remains.
Add the chicken and cook until golden, stirring frequently. Remove from pan.
Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, and saute the onions and garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the red capsicum and saute for another minute. Then add the rice and paprika and stir for a minute or so, until the rice is coated in the onion mixture and the grains are starting to go opaque.
Pour in the wine and simmer until it has evaporated. Then add back the chicken and pour over the hot stock, and bring back to a simmer. Cover with the lid and transfer to the oven.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, stirring about halfway through. Add the chorizo back to the pan, and stir for a minute or so until chorizo heats back up.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
1. I used a sweet smoked paprika, but a hot smoked paprika would be nice too.