Valentine’s Day dinner

Valentine's Day dinner

Mushroom thyme risotto with pan roasted chicken and port and fig reduction


Valentine’s day is just a couple of days away now and I’m working on my menu for the evening.  My husband and I don’t usually go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day. Instead, we’ll go out for dinner on a different night and then spend Valentine’s at home making a special dinner. Date night dinners at our house often include risotto. It’s my ultimate favourite dish. It’s creamy, delicious, comforting and it can be made several different ways. For Valentine’s Day this year I’m making a mushroom thyme risotto and pan roasted chicken with a port and fig reduction. This is a recipe I tried out a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve decided that I need to make it again. It takes a bit of time, about an hour and a half from start to finish, but it’s entirely worth it.

If you’ve never made risotto before, there are two very important things to keep in mind. The first is that the stock must be hot. If you try making risotto with cold stock, you’re going to cool down the pan every time you add more, slowing down the cooking process. The next tip to keep in mind is that you need to be constantly stirring.The creamy texture of the risotto is created when the grains rub against one another, releasing starch. I’m not saying that you can’t stop to refill your wine glass, we all have priorities, just make sure to go straight back to stirring. It might seem a bit tedious, but I always find it surprisingly relaxing to be stirring risotto while drinking a glass of wine.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Mushroom Thyme Risotto:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

1/2 Cup crimini mushrooms, diced small

1 Cup aborio rice

1 Cup dry white wine

4 Cups vegetable (or chicken) stock

3 tbsp fresh thyme

1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp  cold butter

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, shallots, mushrooms and thyme. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes until just beginning to sweat. Stir in the aborio rice and cook for 1 – 2 minutes to coat it with the oil. Add in the wine and cook for a few minutes until it has mostly evaporated, stirring constantly. Begin adding in the stock about 1/2 Cup at a time, stirring until mostly evaporated, then repeat until the risotto is thick and creamy and slightly al dente. Finish by stirring in the Parmesan cheese and then the butter.

Chicken with Port and Fig reduction:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 chicken breasts

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/4 Cup onion, minced

3 springs of fresh rosemary

4 dried figs, sliced

500mL port

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit

In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes until opaque. Stir in the port, figs, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and continue simmering for about 20 – 25 minutes until reduced and thickened. Remove from heat until ready to serve.

While the Port is simmering, heat the remaining olive oil in an oven proof skillet. Season the the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken in the pan (about 5 minutes per side) and then place in the oven to finish cooking. About 20 minutes.




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  2. petra08 says:

    What a lovely meal, port and fig reduction! I agree with you on Valentines, there is something lovely about sharing a really nice meal at home and what a great meal with the risotto as well! 🙂

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