From The Chef's Kitchen: Pan-Roasted Amish Chicken Breast with Braised Chicken-Thigh Risotto

Exclusive recipes, shared only with Pittsburgh Magazine, from some of Pittsburgh's Best Restaurants and chefs. This delicious chicken dish comes from Eleven Contemporary Kitchen in the Strip District.
Pan-Roasted Amish Chicken Breast with Braised Chicken-Thigh Risotto

photo by Laura Petrilla

Main Ingredients
2 each 3½- to 4-pound Amish (or free-range) chickens — breasts removed, thighs removed, wings, carcass and drumsticks reserved for another purpose; if making stock, you would use the wings, carcass and drumsticks, which are not needed for this recipe 
2 quarts chicken stock (Kitchen Basics is a good brand if you do not have homemade.)
2-3 tablespoons picked fresh thyme, stems reserved
Braised greens
½ cup diced carrots
(¼-inch dice)
½ cup diced celery root (¼-inch dice)
½ pound Arborio rice
Salt and pepper
4-5 tablespoons butter

Place small mound of braised greens in center of plate. Top with scoop of thigh rice. Slice chicken breast and fan around rice. Finish with pan sauce.

Thigh Cooking:
Season both sides of thigh with salt, pepper and chopped fresh thyme. Lay skin side up in shallow baking pan. Place in 450-degree oven and cook until skin is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add enough stock to nearly cover thigh and return to oven. Reduce temperature to 275 degrees and cook until very tender, at least half an hour. (If stock nearly reduces dry, replenish with a little water or stock. When done, leg should be glazed by the stock and meat tender.) Remove thighs from braising liquid. Save braising liquid for risotto. Pull meat from bones. Reserve. Discard bones and veins.

Breast Cooking:
Heat a skillet on medium heat. Season breasts with salt and pepper. Place breast, skin side down, and cook slowly, rendering the fat. When skin is browned and crispy, turn breast and finish cooking. Remove from pan and reserve warm. Make Pan Sauce in pan.
Pan Sauce:
After chicken breasts are done and removed from the pan, turn heat to high. Deglaze pan with approximately ½ cup chicken stock. Reduce stock to a glaze. Add pinch chopped fresh thyme and whisk in 4-5 tablespoons butter. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Braised Greens
1 pound greens (mustards, kale, collards, dandelion, endives
or a mixture)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic,
sliced thinly
Salt and pepper

Stem, chop and wash greens. Drain well.
Heat olive oil in pan. Add garlic and cook until white. Add greens and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve warm.

Thigh Risotto
1 tablespoon butter
Carrot and celery root from above
Pre-cooked Arborio rice (see left)
Reserved, picked
thigh meat
1 cup hot chicken stock (braising liquid)
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Warm butter in high-sided skillet. Add carrot and celery root and sauté until nearly cooked. Add pre-cooked rice to pot. 
Add 2 ounces of chicken stock while stirring with a wooden spoon over medium heat until liquid is absorbed. Continue in this fashion until mixture is thick and creamy and rice is cooked but still al dente in the center (5 minutes or so). Stir in thigh meat.
Add butter and cheese. Adjust salt and pepper.

Precooked Arborio Rice
Approx. 1 quart chicken stock, brought to a boil and kept hot
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup minced onion
½ pound Arborio rice

Heat butter and oil in a wide, heavy pot over low heat. Sweat onions until soft. Add rice and cook, stirring to coat the grains with butter, until opaque, 2-3 minutes.
Add ½ cup hot stock and stir until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding in this fashion until all stock is added and the risotto is still soupy. Spread out on sheet pan to cool.
Serves 4.

1150 Smallman St., Strip District; 412/201-5656, Read more about Eleven in our 2017 Best Restaurants feature.

Categories: Eat + Drink Features