Wild mushroom and chicken risotto for Ruby

This dish was created for Ruby during a trip we all took to Chamonix earlier this year. While they all went ski-ing, I stayed with my feet firmly planted on the ground and went hiking along the Grand and Petit Balcons – beautiful Alpine walks through woods and over steep drops.

Hiking through the sunny Alps

As with all four year olds, Ruby is defined and determined in what she will and will not eat – and the theme for the day was mushrooms. And only mushrooms.

I made this dish from the scraps and bones from a roast chicken but have recreated it here using shredded chicken thighs and pre-bought stock.

Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘JJ Sneed’ by Dolly Parton


  • 6 chicken thighs – boned and skinless
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper
  • I large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 30g wild mushrooms
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 500g Riso Gallo risotto rice Carnaroli (this really is the best)
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 80g grated parmesan


  1. Place the wild mushrooms in a small bowl and cover, liberally, with boiling water – at least 350ml. These need to steep for at least 20 mins.
  2. In a thick-based and wide pan, fry off and cook the chicken in a few good glugs of the olive oil. Season these well at this point, on both sides with salt and pepper. Feel free to be heavy handed on the pepper as the mushrooms can take it.
  3. Once cooked (and golden) remove from the pan and rest to one side.
  4.  In the pan, gently fry off the garlic for a few minutes. Once sweated down, add the onions and cook down for a good ten minutes without browning them.
  5. While the onions are sweating down, strain the mushrooms but keep the liquor.
  6. Once sweated down, add the strained mushrooms to the onions and mix well. While these are cooking, pull the chicken apart in to good sized chunks and add to the combo in the pan.
  7. Once the chicken is in and mixed, add the rice, all of it in one go, and mix with the onion/mushroom/chicken combo.
  8. After a few minutes, you start building up your risotto. First pour in small amounts of the mushroom liquor, stirring all the while. You add more fluid once the rice has absorbed the all the liquid you’ve just added.
  9. Once all of mushroom liquor has been absorbed, then start on the chicken stock. Remember risotto needs constant attention so keep stirring…
  10. You’ll know your risotto is done when the rice has some bite but isn’t crunchy. You’re looking for the al dente texture.
  11. Let the risotto cool for a few minutes (it will still need stirring) and add the crème fraiche and stir well.
  12. Finally stir through the parmesan and then serve immediately. I always put the pan in the middle of the table and let guests serve themselves.

Serve with a Grillo Parlante to cut through the richness.

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