- I've cooked (mostly) low fat for around 20 years. Using large quantities of things like butter and cream tends to give me the willies, though I'll make an exception for special occasions. But when I'm trying new recipes regularly and they call for significant amounts of bacon fat, butter, or cream - or in this case, all three - I'm just going to have to cut fat. So I trimmed back the ingredients in this recipe where I could, but there was still plenty of the rich stuff.
- I used about half the bacon amount - the Benton's bacon that I use has quite a strong flavor. Tyler's directions call for cooking the bacon in olive oil. He's done this in other recipes, and I'm guessing this step is meant to built flavor layers (it's not like bacon is lacking in fat or anything!) I used about half the olive oil. Note: bacon does not get "crispy" in 3-4 minutes of "slow" cooking.
- My first instincts were to halve the the rice part of the recipe, and I should have listened to that little voice. There was way too much risotto for 4 pieces of chicken - the amount was more like 8 servings of rice. I ended up giving some to my neighbors; and they really liked it.
- I'm never very confident in my risotto technique, and in fact, I'm not so sure I'm even temperamentally suited to making risotto.
- Tyler's recipe uses butter, parmesan and heavy cream to finish the rice. I skipped the butter, reduced the cheese, and used 1/4 cup half-and-half instead of 1 cup of cream. Even so, the rice was plenty creamy.
This chicken smelled amazing while it was browning!
I had been eagerly anticipating this recipe and the bottom line is that I was disappointed. It wasn't a total bust; this was a tasty chicken + rice dish. We enjoyed it the first night and we enjoyed the leftovers all week (lots of rice!). But it wasn't spectacular, especially given the two major strikes against it: (1) it's exceptionally heart and waist unfriendly - tons of butter in the chicken, and bacon/cream/butter/cheese in the rice, and (2) it's unusually labor-intensive for my style of cooking. Without huge payoffs in the taste department I'm not likely to take the trouble of cooking it again.
On the positive side, I loved the taste of the fresh thyme + black pepper compound butter, so I might play around with those flavors in a simplified olive-oil based chicken dish.
I'm sending this off to Tyler Florence Fridays, a weekly roundup of blog posts that feature Tyler's recipes - check it out to see what everyone's cooking up!