Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Month: January 2012

Chicken & Butternut Squash Risotto

Chicken & Butternut Squash Risotto

I LOVE risotto. It’s inherent creaminess and heartiness make it a perfect meal for a cold winter’s night, and a great alternative to pasta. I put this together the other night after I came home from work, and it wasn’t nearly as much effort as I’d been led to believe. Sure, it requires frequent stirring, but I was by no means standing in front of the stove staring at the pot the entire time. I used frozen squash that I had already peeled and diced, which cut down my prep time. Enjoy!

Total prep time: 45 mins – 1 hour

A note to anyone that’s never peeled a butternut squash: Have a good peeler. A REALLY good peeler. Check out our Discoveries for a suggestion!)

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium yellow onion, dicedSalt & pepper
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
32 oz (large carton) reduced sodium chicken stock, heated
1 tablespoon chopped sage, fresh or dried
2 cups chopped roasted chicken (1 breastof a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Melt the butter in a large stockpot or saucepan. Add onions and butternut squash and cook until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Add wine, stir until it’s mostly absorbed. Begin adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently after each addition until absorbed, about 3 minutes per addition. Once most of the stock has been added, add the sage and chopped chicken, then stir in the remaining stock. Top with parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

The risotto is about halfway at this point. I really started to notice the creaminess once almost all of the stock had been added.

“You come from good stock.”

“You come from good stock.”

I don’t remember not cooking.  I’m fortunate that to from a long legacy of great Southern cooks.  My dad was a cattle rancher in the Texas Panhandle, working land settled by his great-grandfather, who came  from Missouri. We worked cattle, and would often feed the ranch hands and neighbors who came to help with branding.

We gathered wild plums on horseback, and my grandmother and great aunt Mary would use them to make jam.  I can hear the steaks searing in the cast iron skillet and smell biscuits baking in the oven, which we slathered in butter and homemade jam.

There are three things that have always sustained our family: faith, humor, and food.  Through tough times, my father reminded me that we could make it through anything, saying to me, “You come from good stock.”  (Everything in our family was a livestock analogy!)  My mother and grandmothers shared their love of food, and in doing so preserved the past.  We hope to share our love of food so you can share it with your family and friends.

Fast forward ….I did not become Victoria Barkley.  (If you’re younger than 45 you might need to ask someone.)  I was the single mom, juggling work and a child all while trying to make ends meet.  Standing in my kitchen one cold winter day, I tearfully explained to my mom that I was supposed to be that “stay at home mom,” vacuuming with my pearls on.  She said to me matter-of-factly, “June Cleaver is dead. This is your life, deal with it.”

And so I did, and as victories and challenges have come along, I still do. This blog is a place to share our love of food, traditions, and recipes – both old and new – and, of course, some fun along the way so you can share and create with your loved ones. Enjoy!