One of my best friends growing up came from a Korean household. This meant that much of my time spent with her was spent enjoying a plethora of Korean cuisine. (No, I never did grow to enjoy the smell of kimchee).
It also meant I created many a memory of scooping out the last of the crusty rice from the rice cooker and forming this delicacy into tasty little rice balls to savor.
Remember…I like crunch.
But, now as a sophisticated adult, I also quite enjoy the creamy elegance of a properly prepared Italian risotto, coupled with the salty tang of a good, soft cheese.
I thought hard about how I could concoct something somewhat similar to a childhood favorite, but different enough to incorporate the sensation of dreamy risotto – and a bit of extra grown-up tang.
I decided upon forming risotto balls – stuffing them with some “adult” cheese, and adding a bit of chicken to call it a meal.
It worked out pretty well.
The globes I used were found in the homemade ornament aisle at my local craft store.
Good luck to you!
Creamy Chive Risotto Balls with Chicken
1/2 cup white risotto (or short grain brown rice)
1 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 cup water
sea salt and pepper
5 oz. chive gournay cheese (or simply chive Boursin)
1 large chicken breast
sea salt and pepper
1 Tbs. olive oil + 1 Tbs. lemon juice
fresh baby spinach
In a medium skillet over low heat, sauté the rice in the butter for 3-5 minutes. Continuously stirring, slowly add in the water. Risotto can be tricky. Be patient. Keep stirring and keep adding the water until the rice is ultra thick and creamy.
Transfer to plastic “ornament ball” halves. Using a small spoon, scoop out a small hole in each rice ball half to fill with the cheese. Carefully spoon in the cheese and then close the halves. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Bake, covered, for about 35 minutes, until thoroughly cooked.
Remove the rice balls from the molds very carefully. Reheat in the oven at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes (or microwave). Serve with sliced chicken, fresh spinach, and drizzled with the remaining cooked oil and lemon juice.