I love chicken soup but donít like soup chicken. So, Iím constantly seeking
ways to use up the packages I tuck away in the freezer, before they
overtake all storage space. Since their efficacy as doorstops is limited to
the time it takes to thaw and be dragged off by a neighborhood cat, more
innovative solutions are in order.
Two days ago, I decided to make a risotto. Not for me the stirring over a
hot stove and meticulously adding liquid by the teasponful. Iíve never
cared for saunas, let alone one with chicken-broth steam. Nope. I made it
in the microwave, following a sweet little recipe from "Microwave Gourmet,"
by Barbara Kafka. You dump in all the liquid; stop and stir after a few
minutes; then cook some more.
Between "stop and stir after a few minutes" and "then cook some more," I
decided to add in about a cupful of shredded soup chicken and a handful of
sliced mushrooms. At the end, I tossed in several tablespoonsful of chopped
parsley and had a lovely meal.
Then, I wondered whether there could possibly be a Jewish connection for
what Iíd made, other than the fact that I am a Jewish mother who has
leftover chicken from cooking chicken soup ...
I opened my trusty "Book of Jewish Food" and found that, sure enough,
Claudia Roden had written: "According to the Italian writer Giuseppe
Maffioli, in ~La Cucina Veneziana~ (1982), the Jews of the Venice Ghetto
had a much greater variety of risotti than the local population, combining
the rice with vegetables such as peas, artichokes, zucchini, spinach,
eggplant, celery, and tomatoes, and sometimes with chicken livers and bits
of chicken or kosher sausage. And they had their own way of making the
risotti, which they called Ďpilaf.í They would add the liquid all in one go
instead of a little at a time as it becomes absorbed (the way Italians make
Amazing! My humble [lazy] way of making risotto, and my "innovation" in
adding other ingredients, even have a Jewish antecedent. ;-) Who knows?
Maybe weíll even find a connection for Cheerios.
So, without further ado, here is the recipe I used. This time, I had
wonderful, round risotto rice, but Iíve also used other types (even
long-grained Persian) with success. Bear in mind that times are for a 750W
oven. Mine is 1000W, so I decrease times by 30 seconds to 1-1/2 minutes.
Just keep a closer watch the first time you make this, if your microwave
oven is higher wattage.
I always make this with pareve margarine and pareve chicken-flavored broth.
Serves 3 as a first course; 6 as a side dish.
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter [pareve margarine]
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced yellow onion (about 1/4 pound)
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups Chicken broth, canned chicken broth, or any other broth
2 teaspoons kosher[ing] salt*
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Heat butter and oil in a 10-inch quiche or deep pie dish, or 11 x
8-1/2 x 2? Dish, uncovered at 100% for 2 minutes. Add onions and stir to
coat. Cook, uncovered, at 100% for four minutes. Add rice and stir to coat.
Cook, uncovered, for 4 minutes more. (If using a small oven, cook onions
for 7 minutes; add rice and cook for 7 minutes more.)
2. Stir in broth. Cook, uncovered, at 100% for 9 minutes. Stir well and
cook for 9 minutes more. (If using a small oven, cook for 12 minutes, stir
and cook for 12 minutes more.)
3. Remove from oven. Let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes to let rice
absorb remaining liquid, stirring several times. Stir in salt, pepper and
Parmesan cheese, if desired.
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