This is a very plain, simple recipe – you could almost describe it as the ultimate comfort food. I used it make this years ago and had forgotten about it until a few days ago. Mike was fighting a cold and feeling yuck and Frances just getting over one. I thought about making an old-fashioned chicken and vegetable soup but this dish came into my head.
1 whole chicken, trim off excess fat and take some of the skin off if you want
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 sticks celery finely chopped
1-2 leeks, halved or quartered lengthwise and finely sliced
1 bag baby spinach leaves
500g Arborio rice
1 bottle dry white wine
5 cups water
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Place the chicken in a large pot breast side down and add the wine and water. Cover and bring to the boil skimming any scum off the surface. While the water and wine are coming to the boil, chop all the vegetables and then add them to the pot. Season well.
Simmer for about 35-45 minutes, skimming if necessary. Turn the chicken over gently and pour the rice into the liquid around it and stir. The rice will take about 25 minutes to cook. Once its done, there probably will be some liquid still. That will be absorbed if you leave the rice and chicken to sit for about 5 minutes.
Take out the chicken, stir the spinach into the rice – it’ll just wilt with the heat of the rice – check the seasoning, mix in a little freshly grated nutmeg and serve. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and more nutmeg.