Risotto-Stuffed Lemon Thyme Chicken

I’ve had this young organic chicken sitting in my freezer for a couple of months now. It was part of the bundle of food my mom gave me when she moved. It’s about twice the size of a cornish game hen, but not super-large, so I have been saving it for something interesting. Some time last week, I turned the TV on at work, flipped it to Food Network, and saw Giada de Laurentis making something delicious. I can’t remember if she was making risotto or not, but somehow I got risotto stuck in my head.

I’ve never made risotto. I’m pretty much too impatient to make rice most of the time. I’m much more comfortable with noodles. Oodles of noodles. But I was stuck on the idea of risotto. Especially with lemon. Lemon Risotto. The food idea was chasing itself around my brain, so I figured I’d act on it. I mean, how difficult could risotto be? I just need to be patient. Right.

The following (especially the risotto part) is why I generally don’t do anything without a recipe. It just doesn’t work out most of the time. I had a little trouble finding a chicken-stuffed risotto recipe, but finally came across one that worked.

Roast lemon thyme chicken with a lemon risotto stuffing

1 1.8kg free-range chicken
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 bunch lemon thyme, chopped; one sprig reserved
coarse sea salt
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 shallot, chopped
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Reserve 1 tbsp butter. Mix lemon thyme into remaining butter, along with plenty of course sea salt. Rub under the chicken’s skin, concentrating on the breast.

I really have never felt so much like I was molesting a chicken. Not sure why. I’ve rubbed buttery stuff under chicken skin before…. This time just felt so much more….molesty. 

Heat the reserved 1 tbsp butter in heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Fry the shallot and remaining sprig of lemon thyme gently for 5 minutes until the shallot is softened.

Add the rice and lemon zest, mix well.

Add lemon juice, white wine, and stock. Bring to a boil and cook briskly for 2 minutes.

Being the wonderful multi-tasker I am, I started the butter/shallot stuff going as I was rubbing the chicken down. I didn’t realize how long the chicken molestation would take, so I ended up over-doing the shallots a bit.

Remove the lemon risotto from the heat and spoon into chicken cavity. Truss legs into place and position in roasting tray.

Roast chicken for 1 hour, until cooked through.

Remove chicken from oven. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

The chicken turned out very well for the most part. The stuffing risotto was good. But when I tried to make a bit more risotto for accompaniment, I apparently failed. See, every risotto dish I looked at said to do the frying of stuff, add wine/alcohol, cook until liquid almost gone, then add the chicken stock in 1/2 cup increments, waiting until the liquid is absorbed each time. I tried that… Maybe I was rushing (probably), but my risotto came out mushy ._. Apparently I did it wrong. Anyone out there have any ideas?

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