Part of the reason I like to make roast chicken (whether upside down or right side up) is because it gives me the ability to make a bunch of homemade stock with all of the leftover parts (probably not one of the abilities that you'll see featured on Heroes anytime soon). Having homemade broth on hand that I can use right away or freeze for later gives me the opportunity to make soups, stews, or risottos at the drop of a hat...or something.
After making this past weekend's roast bird, I knew that I wanted to use the stock right away to make a risotto. I wasn't necessarily thinking that risotto was the best choice for a Thanksgiving side dish, but then I realized that if I made a red wine or beet risotto it would be a vibrant red hue, perfect for the holidays. (AND I know the perfect recipe for the leftovers - stay tuned for that!)
I came across a beet risotto recipe in a recent Food & Wine that looked perfect for it's simplicity and limited ingredient list. I just made a few minor tweaks and...ta-dah! I had a bright red plate of goodness.
Homemade Chicken Stock
1 whole chicken carcass from a 3 - 4 pound chicken, plus the browned bits from the bottom of the roasting pan
1 large onion, cut in half
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
2 quarts cold water
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 60 minutes, skimming frequently.
2. Strain the stock into a large bowl, pressing on the solids. Let cool slightly and refrigerate. Remove the solidified fat from the stock before using. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for several months.
(Adapted from Food & Wine/Grace Parisi)
7 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock (or low sodium canned chicken broth)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 large beets, peeled and shredded (yes, you will stain your hands)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups arborio rice
2 cups freshly grated pecorino cheese (about 8 ounces)
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer; cover and keep warm. In a large saucepan, melt the butter in the oil. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until softened, 5 minutes. Add the shredded beets and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until the pan is dry, about 10 minutes. Spoon half of the beets into a small bowl and set aside.
2. Add the rice to the saucepan with the beets and onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the warm stock to the rice, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring until the stock is nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the rice is al dente and a thick sauce forms, about 25 minutes. Stir in the reserved cooked beets and the cheese. Cook, stirring, until heated through; add a few tablespoons of water if the risotto is too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning. Spoon the risotto into bowls. Serves 8.