Saturday, May 30, 2009

risotto with chicken and beet greens

The recipe was inspired by my trip to the Durham Farmers' Market this morning, where I got some heirloom beets that came with the greens still attached.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups beet greens, with stems
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 boneless chicken breast, diced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups water or chicken stock*
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cut the stems off the beet greens and cut them into a small dice. They will look like little pieces of celery. Stack the green leaves on top of each other and roll them up and then slice them thinly (a chiffonade) so you get long thin strands of greens.

Heat the oil in a deep-sided skillet and add the stems. Cook for about three minutes. Add chicken and cook until done. Add garlic and greens and cook for another two or three minutes, then add the rice. Stir a minute more and add the wine. When the wine has almost dissipated, add the water or stock one cup at a time, waiting until it is absorbed before adding more, which will take about fifteen or twenty minutes. Stir the rice frequently. When the liquid has been mostly absorbed and the rice is soft, stir in the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand about ten minutes before serving.

*If you are boiling the beets, save the water and use it for the risotto, which will give it a lovely pink color. If you do this, also substitute red wine for the white, which will intensify the color.