Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Rice of the Roman Empire

Pollo & Pastinaca Arrosto in Padella su Risi Bisi
Pan Roasted Chicken and Parsnips on Risi Bisi

Ah, chicken and rice! How can you possibly go wrong? It's a classic combination and perfect for a Fall evening. I also had parsnips and snow peas and already the idea was taking shape. How about that classic Roman dish of "Risi- Bisi", I thought- in combination it would surely make a good mix? And do you know what- it really did!

For the rice, I finely shopped some onion and garlic and sautéed it until they were translucent- I then added the rice, stirred it in well, added a glass of white wine and some of the vegetable broth I had made up for my chicken soup, set the temperature at a low simmer, and started working on the chicken.

The chicken I used was the thigh meat I removed from the bone to make the chicken soup. I made sure to remove any sinews and started it frying at a moderate temperature in a dry Teflon pan. I cut the parsnip into quarters length-ways and sprinkled both chicken and parsnip with rosemary and finely chopped garlic. I let it cook for 3-4 minutes, making sure that everything was getting nice and brown and then de-glazed the pan with a little white wine.

By now the rice was almost good, so I added some finely chopped spring onions and the snow peas which I cut into slices and stirred into the rice. I seasoned with a little nutmeg, salt and pepper and got back to the chicken and parsnip. At this point, the wine will have been absorbed by the chicken and parsnip and we can add a little butter to the pan and turn up the heat and start getting everything nice and brown. Skipping back to the rice, it is now time to add some parmesan cheese and a pat of butter. Turn off the heat and go grab a dish- dinner is ready to be served!

I set the creamy rice out first, gave it a good sprinkle of Parmesan and then stacked the parsnips up on top. The golden brown chicken came next, with some of the rosemary that was in the saucepan and should be delicious and crispy as a contrast to the juicy chicken... mmm! Like I said... chicken and rice- how can you go wrong? Answer: you can't!

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