Tuesday, June 1, 2010

RECIPE - Chicken Risotto (Risoto de Frango)

In the last few posts, I've been talking about the European-influenced cuisines of Brazil's southern states. Unlike the population of more tropical regions in the center and north of the country, the bulk of the population of Brazil's south can trace its ancestry back to Europe, usually by way of immigrants to Brazil in the 19th and early 20th Century.

Yesterday, I posted a recipe from the state of Santa Catarina, which has a large German immigrant community. There are also German communities in the state of Paraná, which borders Santa Catarina on the north, but in Paraná the primary ethnic and cultural groups are descendants of immigrants from Portugal and especially from Italy. The capital, Curitiba, has a large and vibrant Italian community, as do the cities of Colombo and Santa Felicidade.

Just as Flavor of Brazil's recipe for chucrute was an evolution, not a copy, of German sauerkraut, this recipe from Paraná - delicious and different chicken risotto - is a Brazilian adaptation of an Italian original. Particularly interesting is the use of chicken gizzards as the primary protein for the dish. This recipe serves a large group, which makes the dish particularly appropriate for a feast or dinner for family or friends.
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RECIPE - Chicken Risotto (Risoto de Frango)
Serves 10

For the broth:
5 quarts water (5 litres)
1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs. (2 kgs.), chopped into 8 to 10 pieces
1 whole tomato
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 celery stick
2 or 3 whole fresh sage leaves

For the risotto:
1 lb. (500 gr.) chicken gizzards, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce
salt to taste
3 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
additional grated parmesan cheese, to taste
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Make the broth: In a large deep pan or stockpot, combine the water and all ingredients. Heat over medium-high heat, and when the water begins to boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 50 minutes, loosely covered. Remove from heat, and let cool. When cool, remove chicken, discard skin and all bones, and then shred the meat. Reserve. Pass the broth through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth, Reserve.

Make the risotto: Season the gizzards with salt, then fry them with the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the onions and continue to saute until the onions become lightly browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce and stir. Add 2 cups of the reserved chicken broth and cook over medium-low heat for 40 minutes, or until the gizzards are soft. Meanwhile, bring the remaining broth to a simmer in another pot.

When gizzards are cooked, add the rice to the pan, stir and bring the mixture to the boil over medium-high heat. As it begins to dry out, add more broth by the cupful, allowing each to be absorbed before adding another. When the rice is almost cooked, stir in the reserved shredded chicken. Continue adding broth until all the broth is absorbed, or until the rice is tender. At this point, remove the risotto from the heat, stir in the 1/2 cup parmesan and the parsley and mix lightly. Correct the seasoning. Put into a serving dish, sprinkle additional parmesan on top and serve immediately.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora.

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