With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner, now is the time to start preparing your feast day menu. If you haven't come up with any new sides since cornbread stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes, maybe -- just maybe -- this year is the time to try something different.
This recipe comes from Brio Tuscan Grille executive chef Alison Peters, who shares one of her favorite holiday dishes, a sweet potato and chicken risotto.
We love this dish for a multitude of reasons: 1) Everyone likes risotto; 2) Learning to make risotto should be on everyone's to-do list; and 3) Combining sweet potato and chicken sounds like the perfect way to bring another Thanksgiving-inspired dish to the table.
"Making risotto is more of a technique than a dish," says Peters. "Once you master the basic steps, toasting the rice, and adding in the boiling stock one ladle at a time, any flavor combination is possible."
For this recipe, go ahead and get a little ingredient happy. In other words, be creative. You can add onions, various vegetables, wild mushroom -- or simply replace the chicken with roasted turkey for a post-Thanksgiving recycling of any leftovers. Like Peters said: once you know the basics, any flavor combination is possible.
Sweet Potato & Chicken Risotto
2 oz. olive oil
4 oz. pancetta
12 oz. sweet potatoes (roasted)
8 oz. asparagus, grilled (cut on a diagonal)
24 oz. chicken stock
24 oz. risotto (cooked)
12 oz. pulled oven roasted chicken
4 Tbsp whole unsalted butter
8 Tbsp Reggiano or Parmesan cheese (shredded)
4 pinch salt and pepper (to taste)
4 tsp. toasted pine nuts (place in 350-degree oven for five minutes and toast untill golden brown)
4 tsp. fresh thyme (chopped)
1. Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add pancetta and sauté until golden brown and crispy.
2. Add sweet potatoes, asparagus, chicken stock and risotto. Stir to combine and cook risotto.
3. Add chicken, butter, Reggiano or Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Stir to mix.
4. Place in a serving plate. Garnish with pine nuts and thyme.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Dice two sweet potatoes. Mix with salt and pepper, and olive oil to coat. Place in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes and cook till slight browning occurs.
Risotto Cooking Instructions
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups water
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1. In a large pot, heat the stock and two cups water over medium low heat.
2. In a separate risotto pot or large skillet with a rounded bottom, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic to pan and saute to soften 3 to 4 minutes
3. Stir in the rice. Heat the rice for 1-2 minutes, then add the wine and cook until evaporated.
4. Add in the hot stock, a few ladles at a time, and stir for a minute with each addition, to develop the starch and the creamy aspect. Keep adding stock each time the pan starts to become dry at the edges. When rice is cooked to al dente (total cooking time will be about 18 minutes or so), stir in the butter and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a sheet pan and cool.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.