Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jamie's Italy

I love studying cookbooks written by chefs who appreciate real food from the source and recognize it's colorful and rustic beauty. The less you mess with the food, the better it will be to you. Jamie Oliver is definitely one of my favorites. For Christmas I received the cookbook Jamie's Italy. I love this book because of how real it is, because all the recipes were collected on a roadtrip through Italy in a VW bus, and because of the white risotto recipe. The meal that I have posted below is my collaborative effort with Jamie (he doesn't know yet). To say that it's good is an understatement. I made the whole thing from stuff I already had in my kitchen, except for the wine. The wine I did use was a cheap bottle I got from Target. It didn't matter. All of the flavors of the sweet chicken, lemony spinach and creamy risotto went together so perfectly I thought I might have died. A little dramatic, but it is so good! I know I'm going on and on...but I can't say it enough. This one is good! If you try nothing else from my blog...if I remain anonymous forever from here on out, please try this meal!

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Wilted Spinach and Jamie’s White Risotto

Rx: Mustard is high in magnesium and selenium. What this means is that it will help reduce inflammation in the body, speed up your metabolism, and help lower blood pressure. It is best known as a digestive aid. The dark meat used in this recipe also has some benefits too. Although it is cheaper than white meat, dark meat has a bad rap since it is higher in calories and fat. The fact is, though, it’s not much of a difference. Also, the dark meat contains more nutrients than the white, including iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

Serves 2


For the chicken:

6 chicken legs with the thighs (bone-in)
1½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 tsp Chinese five spice
3 finely minced clove of garlic
6 tbs local honey
6 tbs coarse ground mustard

For the spinach:

Three bunches fresh organic spinach, washed and dried (these will significantly cook down)
6 finely minced cloves of garlic
1 tbs olive oil (too much will make your spinach greasy and soggy)
Juice of one lemon

For the risotto:

Use Jamie Oliver’s recipe for White Risotto (found in the book, Jamie’s Italy, pg. 130)
Use any quality recipe for risotto you can find ( I like to check up on


Preheat the oven to 375 F.

*Tip! Have your chicken in the oven, then begin the risotto. This way they’ll be done closer to the same time.

Put the chicken pieces in a large plastic bag (or in a bowl) and rub all of the pepper, five spice, garlic, honey, and mustard into the chicken really well. Place these on a sheet and pour the remaining juices over the meat. Place in the oven.

Begin your risotto, using any recipe you have.
Your chicken will be done when the temperature of the deepest part is between 170 and 180 F. This took me about an hour. Let the meat rest before serving so that it will be as moist as possible. This is a good time to do the spinach.
In a small pan, heat the teaspoon of olive oil over low heat. When it’s hot, add the garlic and sautee for about 30 seconds. Add the whole spinach leaves and stir constantly until they are all darker and wilted. This happens very quickly, just a few minutes. Even if not every leave is wilted yet, remove it from the heat. The warmth from the other leaves and the pan will finish them off. Squeeze with a little lemon juice,

Plate putting the risotto on bottom, then the chicken on top of that, and top with the spinach. Look at you, being all classy!

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