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Leftover chicken risotto with leek and pancetta

This was the first risotto that we’d had for AGES! People don’t think of risottos as quick, quite the opposite. But actually, this took under 30 minutes. So I would categorise that as pretty quick-ish. Because there is constant visible progress it doesn’t feel that long either! And I just totally forgot how much we all love it. It’s great for hiding veggies in. You could sweat down onion, carrot, celery, courgette at the start – just cut it up really small. I plumped for onion and leek, adding in pancetta to give depth and saltiness. The aroma of frying bacon also does wonders for everyone’s appetites and any possible fussiness goes out the window.

It’s a great way to get the most out of a roast chicken. Just strip every last scrap (and bone – I pick them off everyone’s plates and also include the leftover juices which jellify and have loads of flavour in them) then boil up the carcass for as long as possible. That’s your stock sorted. Even if there isn’t much chicken left, as in this dish, the rest of the ingredients really pad this out. Everyone loved it – it’s rare that both kids wolf something down but they both kid and Arthur even had seconds.

Adding herbs and lemon, as well as plenty of seasoning and heaps of Parmesan is a must…

Makes: Enough for 2 adults, 2 kids

Takes: 30 minutes (ish)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 125g pancetta
  • About 350g risotto rice
  • About 1 litre of chicken stock (bought is fine but watch seasoning to avoid too much salt)
  • Leftover chicken
  • About 100g Parmesan
  • Handful fresh mint, chopped
  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • Squeeze lemon
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat oil in a pan and soften onion, leek, and pancetta. Add garlic after a few minutes. Get the pan of stock on the boil too.
  2. Add the rice and stir. (Plus a glass of wine at this stage too if you like!)
  3. Now gradually add stock, a ladle (or similar) full at a time. Stir frequently – you don’t have to stand at the stove continually stirring but you can if you want.
  4. Once the rice is puffed up and all if not most of the stock is gone, add the chicken.
  5. Add seasoning, cheese, lemon, herbs. Taste and season again if needed.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, more Parmesan, and a few more herbs.

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