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Chicken, Mushroom and Cashew Risotto | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Risotto has always scared me. I don’t know why, but it’s one of those foods that seems quite intimidating, but once you make it, you realize that your fears and concerns were unwarranted. Maybe it’s the idea of all of that stirring that is daunting. I’m not sure, but I finally bit the bullet and made my first risotto!!

When Sathya and Liz, of The Baker and the Curry Maker, announced a new blogging event with a risotto theme, I knew this would be the kick in the butt that I needed to try to make risotto. I was at the bookstore a couple of days after they announced this event, and I bought myself a few books as a birthday present to myself. One of them is simply called Risotto and although it is a thin book, it has lots of tempting recipes. I took it home and looked it over for the next few days. I have the hardest time making decisions, so I narrowed it down to 3 recipes, and told my husband that he had to decide which I was going to make. One was a wild mushroom risotto, which I was sure he would not pick because it had no meat in it. Then there was a sausage and rosemary risotto, and the last was a chicken, mushroom and cashew risotto. Well, to my surprise, he really liked the sound of the wild mushroom risotto, and could not decide between that one and the chicken risotto. After looking through the recipes, I decided that they could easily be combined – the base recipes were practically the same. So instead of the just cremini mushrooms that the chicken recipe called for, I did an assortment of mushrooms. There were a lot of mushrooms in this dish. I love mushrooms, don’t get me wrong, but I really could have cut back on these a bit and still had plenty. I guess that’s why the chicken recipe didn’t call for as many – maybe without the chicken, it wouldn’t seem like quite so many mushrooms. The recipe called for dried porcini or morels, plus a mixture of wild mushrooms – such as porcini, horse mushrooms or chanterelles. Well, I just went with what was at the grocery store that day – they had dried chanterelles, so I picked up a package of those, along with some crimini and shitakes. I had never used dried mushrooms before, so I did what the recipe said and made up some boiling water, dropped the dried mushrooms in, and soaked them for 30 minutes. The recipe was really actually simple, and all of the stirring wasn’t so bad. I was talking on the phone the whole time, so that might have made it go by quickly.

The verdict?? I think I did a good job for my first risotto. The biggest complaint I had was the dried chanterelles. They were quite rubbery, even after soaking for the full 30 minutes. I ended up pulling most of them out of my serving. But besides that, it was delicious. My husband had never had risotto before, and when I asked him what he thought, he didn’t think that it was any different than regular rice with other stuff thrown in, but he liked it. But this is the same man that likes to cover everything with sour cream or ketchup. And I really do need to make it a point to remember to scale things down. This makes a lot of risotto, and since there are only two of us, unfortunately a lot of it went to waste. I don’t know why I have such a hard time remembering to scale down recipes some times…..

And one last thing – I swear my photos are steadily going downhill in quality – maybe it’s because it gets dark so early now, but I really need to get with it and figure something out so they don’t all look like crap. So, even though the picture isn’t that pretty, it still tasted good!!

I’m listing the recipe as I made it – but I would recommend cutting back on the mushrooms.

Chicken, Mushroom and Cashew Risotto
adapted from Risotto by Clive Tring

4 oz. dried cremini mushrooms
generous 5 1/2 cups chicken stock
about 1 lb. mixed fresh wild mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choice)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 finely chopped garlic cloves
2 oz. butter
1 onion, chopped
9 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced
generous 1 5/8 cups risotto rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
scant 1/3 cup cashews, halved
salt and pepper

To garnish:
fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino
4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley

1. Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and add boiling water to cover. Set aside to soak fro 30 minutes, then carefully lift out and pat dry.

2. Bring the stock to a boil in a pan, then reduce the heat and keep simmering over low heat while you are cooking the risotto.

3. Trim the fresh mushrooms and gently brush clean. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the fresh mushrooms and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and soaked mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove to a plate.

4. Heat the butter in the pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes.

5. Reduce heat, add the rice, and mix to coat it in the butter. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes or until the grains are translucent.

6. Add the wine, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.

7. Gradually add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir constantly and add more liquid as the rice absorbs each addition. Increase the heat to medium so the liquid bubbles. Cook for 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy.

8. About 3 minutes before the end of cooking time, stir in the mushrooms and cashews. Season to taste.

9. Top each serving with cheese and chopped parsley.

Makes 4 servings as a main dish.

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26 Responses to Chicken, Mushroom and Cashew Risotto

  1. Valli says:

    This risotto would be the perfect combination for a meal all on it’s own. Mushrooms and cashews..you have me sold.

  2. Kevin says:

    I really like risotto and this one sounds pretty tasty. Risotto takes a bit of time and attention but it is well worth the effort.

  3. The Baker & The Curry Maker says:

    Yum! That looks great Deborah! There’s nothing wrong with your picture silly! You’ve made it even harder to judge now. Thanks.

  4. The Baker & The Curry Maker says:

    Yum! That looks great Deborah! There’s nothing wrong with your picture silly! You’ve made it even harder to judge now. Thanks.

  5. LizG says:

    Great picture, Deborah. And also love the combination of chicken and cashews in this recipe. I’ll have to try that.

    When I have leftover risotto, i usually roll it into a ball(s) the next day, then coat the balls in panko. I shallow fry them and serve with tomato sauce and parmesan. Hum…hum…

  6. Arfi Binsted says:

    I cook risotto just for one serving. My hubby (although a Western man) and kids don’t really like the texture of it. They said it’s like porridge hehehe… So, if you cook risotto again, would you like to remember me a plate, please? That’ll be lovely.

  7. Anh says:

    Deborah. your risotto is lovely! Yummy indeed! Time for paella next? *wink*

  8. KJ says:

    I thought your photo was really nice. But I know where you are coming from, lighting can be really difficult.

    Congrats on your first risotto. It sounds like a terrific combination.

  9. Belinda says:

    Deborah, your photo of the risotto is great…I don’t know what I’m going to do with my photos when the weather gets bad and the trees lose their leaves…my front porch won’t be as inviting then and I’ll have to find a new light source for decent photographs! I have always been intimidated by risotto too, so I was happy to read that it wasn’t as difficult to make as I imagined it to be. It looks like your first risotto was a huge success! :-)

  10. Kristal says:

    Yummy looking… What is a good risotto rice?

  11. Kelly-Jane says:

    Cashews in a risotto sounds inspired! Your picture is really great too.

  12. sunita says:

    I love risotto…you have done a pretty good job with your first try.

  13. sunita says:

    And the picture’s good too :)

  14. Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita says:

    This looks and sounds so good! I know what you mean about taking photos these days with it getting dark early. I’m thinking of doing it on the weekends. Then hope it doesn’t rain haha

  15. Judy says:

    I was always wary of risotto – everyone makes it sound so hard, when really, it’s just a whole lot of stirring! I’m not a mushroom fan, but I like the idea of chicken and cashews.

  16. Shandy says:

    Hi Deborah,

    Aaahh, thank you for the comment on my Pastry Heaven blog. I have learned from experience to save and get a set of dishes that I love but now I have several sets of dishes and, well, they require room and I am officially running out of that quickly! My husband will grumpily attest to this (smile). By the way, I just love your blog and I have added it to my favorite blog’s list. The colors, recipes and how you write are wonderful! :D

  17. glamah16 says:

    Your photos are fantastic.And thats a whole other ‘obsession’, food photography.A nice Risotto with chicken and mushrooms is perfect for a fall dinner. May have to try it on the Certain Someone. I liked the suggestion in the comments about the panko coated rice balls. So good.

  18. Brilynn says:

    Now that you’ve made it once, nothing will stop you from making it again. Risotto is really so versatile, you can add whatever you want and can be scaled down with great success, (because leftover risotto isn’t all that appealing… except to make arranccini, that will be next for you!).

  19. kellypea says:

    I just made mushroom risotto, too, but didn’t like the photos or didn’t trust that it turned out the way it was supposed to. It’s only the second time I’ve made it. Your recipe is similar without the cashews, no wine, and quite a bit more broth. Your photo turned out well and it makes me want to try again.

  20. Tara says:

    I am delurking to let you know that I made this tonight for dinner and we LOVED it! I love mushrooms of all kinds, and the mixture with the cashews made it fantastic! I still haven’t figured out how to make my pictures look good so I won’t have a pic on my blog, but it was great. Thanks for the recipe!

  21. steph- whisk/spoon says:

    congratulations! that looks delicious, and i will have to try your winning recipe myself soon! cashews are my favorite nut.

  22. zlamushka says:

    Congrats on winning the Risotto Relay :-) Good job for the first timer! Hope you ll be making it more often.

  23. kellypea says:

    I just read that you won! Congrats to you!

  24. Katerina says:

    This looks lovely! I am a huge fan of risotto but I haven’t ever done anything as creative as cashews I don’t think! You deserve every one of those tim tams – enjoy.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I have the same book and I am trying the Chicken Cashew tonight. The sausage rosemary dish is awesome!

  26. fittingbackin says:

    I made a variation of this recipe tonight – thanks for the idea! We really liked it!!

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