Risotto with Chicken livers and Tomato

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Joined Aug 13, 2006
I just made this recipe from memory - it was one I remember from childhood that I actually liked. 

I tried to pay attention to the quantities

Risotto with chicken livers and tomato

2 onions

2 shallots (if you have them on hand)

about 1/4 lb chicken livers or chicken hearts and livers

Butter, about 3 tbsp

a cup of canned tomato, crushed or chopped, or 1 tablespoon tomato paste added to the broth/water

wine or dry vermouth (about 1/4 cup)

chicken broth and water, or just water - as much as needed for the particular rice you find

1 lb arborio rice  (if you want to make it use any rice if you can't get arborio - it's fine - just not "converted" rice)

salt and black pepper

Chop the onions and shallots.  Heat the butter in a large heavy frying pan, add the onions and shallots, salt as if they were something in your dish, grind some black pepper over them  and cook slowly in the butter till almost soft. 

Cut up livers in pieces and add, salt them as you would food in your dish, and grind on some more pepper.  Raise heat and start browning, stirring so they don;t burn.  They don;t need to cook through, but a little browning is nice especially what sticks to the pan.  Add more butter if it seems to need more fat to fry them.

Add rice, and stir and cook as it absorbs flavor from the other ingredients, for about 2 or 3 min.  You may need more butter if the bottom looks dry. 

Add the wine and boil down stirring and scraping the brown stuff from the pan. 

Add the tomato if you use it, cook a few minutes over high heat, Salt again, sprinkling evenly, a little less than you would put on a dish of the same amount of stuff. 

Add the broth or broth and water or water a little at a time (if you used tomato paste, add it to the first batch of water) - about a cup at a time, and stir, it should be a little soupy, with the liquid very obviously puddling between the rice - you can also add the liquid to the level of the rice the first time around.  You don;t need to stir constantly, but you should be nearby to give it a vigorous stir frequently and be sure there;s enough liquid.  Keep adding as you cook, so it keeps the puddle of water at least halfway up the rice. 

Taste as you go, and when it seems the rice is almost cooked (don't let it get mushy) you can let some of the liquid cook down and be absorbed, and add only a small amount at a time at this point until the rice is cooked to your taste. 

Serve with grated parmigiano

really hearty and filling (heartier still if you used the hearts - okok, i'll stop)
 
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Thanks Koukouvagia, this is one of the occasions where i actually like something cooked in tomato and it's very filling and hearty.
 
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One of these days we need to start a risotto idea thread.  I keep falling back on the old classics, mainly mushroom risotto.  I've had an idea of making a bone marrow risotto for a long time that I haven't tried yet.

It still kills me that you live in italy and don't like tomato based food.  Who am I to talk though, I'm a greek who doesn't like feta cheese or lamb, although I've been training myself to like both.
 
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Girls, I just added a risotto thread about the stirring and what kind of rice to use. I'm a risotto addict too!
 
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Joined Aug 13, 2006
One of these days we need to start a risotto idea thread.  I keep falling back on the old classics, mainly mushroom risotto.  I've had an idea of making a bone marrow risotto for a long time that I haven't tried yet.

It still kills me that you live in italy and don't like tomato based food.  Who am I to talk though, I'm a greek who doesn't like feta cheese or lamb, although I've been training myself to like both.
As for the risotto ideas, try it with cauliflower - cut them into very small flowerets, and fry some garlic and onion in olive oil slowly, add the cauliflower then the rice and stir and fry a bit more, then add water (or broth) - it's unusual and really good.   Surprisingly sweet.  Well, not sugary, but not cabbagey.

Also risi e bisi (rice and peas). 
 

As for the tomato, my mother cooked practically everything in tomato - stringbeans, artichokes, chicken, she'd even ruin breaded veal cutlets with tomato sauce (why bother getting that nice crispy breading and then sog it all up with sauce) - i never liked her cooking.  I do like tomato, though, but on pasta.  I love it on pasta.  But few other places. 

What's more irritating though, is that since i like tomato on pasta, i married the one italian man who doesn;t like pasta with tomato!  go figure! 
 
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I think I saw something about a Crazy lady in Rome running through Piazza Navona chasing a chicken, we now know where the chicken livers came from..............
 
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I think I saw something about a Crazy lady in Rome running through Piazza Navona chasing a chicken, we now know where the chicken livers came from..............

That's a typo, if she was chasing it it would be a chicken lover!

I should know, being the crazy lady in rome...

But actually, i've never seen chickens in piazza navona, but they did have them at Piazza Vittorio which had an open-air market, and there was a stand where they sold live chickens.  They also would slaughter them there and pluck them for you with a plucking machine.  This was back in the 1970s when i first came.  Sometimes someone would also take the live chicken away in a bag on the bus occasionally.  No live chickens any more, alas.  But they do still have live snails, in big baskets, and they constantly climb (slither?) out and the lady pushes them back - lucky for them they;re slow. 
 
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That's a typo, if she was chasing it it would be a chicken lover!

I should know, being the crazy lady in rome...

But actually, i've never seen chickens in piazza navona, but they did have them at Piazza Vittorio which had an open-air market, and there was a stand where they sold live chickens.  They also would slaughter them there and pluck them for you with a plucking machine.  This was back in the 1970s when i first came.  Sometimes someone would also take the live chicken away in a bag on the bus occasionally.  No live chickens any more, alas.  But they do still have live snails, in big baskets, and they constantly climb (slither?) out and the lady pushes them back - lucky for them they;re slow. 
Siduri, What part of Rome do you live in ????????  Your right, I don't remember any chickens running around Piazza Navona, just a lot of nuts...........
 
 
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I live in San Giovanni - closer to Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, and in walking distance (about 20 min - half hour) to piazza vittorio emanuele, where the live chickens used to be sold.  That's very close to the train station.  

Do you know rome?
 
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Siduri, your recipe reminds me a bit of a jambalaya I make every now and then. It's the tomatoes, which is -if I'm not mistaken- a little unusual in risotto?? Also adding any kind of meat at the beginning of the process makes me think of jambalaya. Is there any (youth)link in your risotto recipe with jambalaya?

This was made with carnaroli rice, fresh tomatoes + passata, red paprika(bell peppers), pinch of chiliflakes, a lovage leaf for the celery taste, spanish chorizo, poached chunks of chicken + the broth of it, and as you can see a few scampi added afterward that are panfried. All the broth was added in one go.

 
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Hi Chris,

I don;t even know what jambalaya is (when i left the states it was not made in the boston area as far as i know and it doesn;t exist here). 

No, it doesn't look much like what you pictured - the tomato is MUCH less, and just colors the rice a little, the main liquid is broth, and it's not saucy, that is, with liquid sauce in the finished rice.  The rice absorbs the liquid almost entirely and the color, if not pink, is more muted (a little brown due to the browned livers).  It's a traditional dish from Barga (Lucca) Italy.  No influence of jambalaya! though there may be resemblances. 
 
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I believe that jambalaya is made with a cajun mirepoix (onions, celery, green pepper), shrimp and sausage (usually andouille).  I don't know much else beyond that about jambalaya but it sounds like something I may want to cook really really soon.

I put tomato in many of my risottos.  Is it not technically correct?  I especially like it in my snail risotto, yum!
 
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I believe that jambalaya is made with a cajun mirepoix (onions, celery, green pepper), shrimp and sausage (usually andouille).  I don't know much else beyond that about jambalaya but it sounds like something I may want to cook really really soon.

I put tomato in many of my risottos.  Is it not technically correct?  I especially like it in my snail risotto, yum!
I make my very own version of jambalaya. I'm sure the cajun people would not agree with my methods. You're right about the andouille. I know french andouille, ...so I replace it with chorizo. Don't let the french hear this; I don't like andouille, a little too much offal in there to my likings. I love these plates originating from France and elsewhere (also a paella reference maybe), a cultural mix that lives it's own life by now.

There's no reason why you should not use tomatoes in a risotto. I love experiments and try-outs of all kinds.

Interesting idea with the snails! Do you know that in spanish very own Valencia, paella country par excellence, one of the main paellas and most reknown paellas is made with... snails?
 
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I wasn't trying to say it's unusual to put snails in risotto, Koukou. Only that they use them in Spain too in yummie ricedishes. Snails and rice are a perfect match.

Mostly, if I add meat or fish or whatever, I will cook/fry that seperately and add afterward to risotto. There's no indication one should do that, it's just my own preference.

Also, to make a wide variety of rissotos, I like to add a puree of cooked veggies and/or fresh herbs. You will always have a very tasty and colorfull risotto.  

Just blend one or more tbsp of cooked veggies, together with a dash of the broth that you use in the risotto. You can blend as fine or coarse as you like.

Add this puree to the risotto the last 5 minutes of the cooking time.

A few examples;

- mix 2 tbsp of cooked pumpkin with chickenbroth (see image). Can be done with broccoli, Jerusalem artichokes,...  Never tried with fresh very ripe cherrytomatoes, but I will!

- boil asparagus for 6 minutes in the broth that you will use for the risotto. Cut tips off, they will go in the risotto at the last moment. Blend the rest of the asparagus with some broth.

- mixed softly cooked beetroot + any broth for a spectacular result

- blanch a good couple of handfulls of watercress (use stalks too!) for just a few seconds and mix again with some broth. Totally delicious. I use that a lot with fish on top.

  Watercress=best risotto ever!!! You can add some blanched spinach to the blend too for extra color.

Just a couple of tbsp of medium-coarsely blended pumpkin went into this risotto, topped with some chicken;

 
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I, actually, am NOT a risotto fan, but i do like that one with the chicken livers.  The only way i REALLY enjoy rice is boiled (like pasta) with just butter on top - and i like long grain and not perfumed rice - or in escarole soup. 

But i make it lots of ways for the family - esp the vegetarian daughter - mainly with vegetables (zucchine, cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms)  But if it were for me, I would boil the rice and eat the vegetable separately!  . 
 
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I, actually, am NOT a risotto fan, but i do like that one with the chicken livers....
 
Let's make you a real risotto fan, Siduri! Let's start with a remake of your chickenliver risotto using the same ingredients. This is what I would do.

A. The chickenliver

- clean them by cutting all redundant parts away such as arteries etc. Cut the livers in not too small chunks.

- soak the livers in icecold milk (add some icecubes!) for at least an hour. This will eleminate blood and the bitter taste.

- dry the livers. s&p.

- fry in a  butter/oil mixture on quite a high fire for just a minute. Get them out of the pan while they are still somewhat pink inside.

- fry some finely sliced shallot in the same pan using the remaining fat, add some finely sliced sundried tomatoes (soft ones in oil preserved), add 1 very finely sliced fresh sage leaf.

- add a good dash of not too sweet Marsala, or shaoXing ricewine, or not too dry sherry. Let reduce a little. Add a few cold butter cubes to thicken just a little.

- add livers again and some chopped parcely and keep warm.

B. The risotto; use carnaroli!!

- sweat a chopped shallot or some onion in olive oil or butter

- on medium fire; add rice, keep stirring while it gets really hot without coloring

- add RED wine (yes, red wine), somewhat more than usual in a risotto. Stir and let it evaporate completely.

- Time to add broth; be sure to use very hot chickenbroth

- put one or two ladles at a time in the rice, stir and fold and always let evaporate completely before adding another ladle of broth.

- keep adding broth, ladle by ladle. After 10 minutes, taste for the "bite" of the rice. Keep tasting and watch how it gets softer.

- just before the rice gets done, take the preparation from the fire. Add a few cubes of cold butter and stir.

- add a handful of freshly grated pecorino, I guess this will better match the liver than parmezan. Mix in.

- check s&p. Warm a little if necessary. Add a little broth if too solid.

Serve risotto with a spoon of the liver preparation on top. Add another sprinkle of fresh parcely.

I bet you will lick your fingers...
 
 
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