Pumpkin Risotto with Cinnamon-Cumin Chicken

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For the season-less of us (you know…those of us living in Florida where seasons never really change), fall and winter are brief moments, and the only way to enjoy them is to create our own experiences.  

Even though it never gets really cold in Florida, we look for ways to create autumn meals.  If a cold front moves through, it may only drop the temperature to the low to mid 80s, but that’s reason enough to make a pot of chili or chicken & dumplings.  If the supermarket gets in a load of pumpkins, that’s enough to get the creative juices flowing, and you can bet pumpkin will make it into my menus.  As someone who’s never been a huge pumpkin pie fan, I see pumpkin as dinner.

Ingredients

3 TBSP vegetable oil

¼ c. chopped onion

1 clove garlic-minced

¾ c. Arborio (short grain) rice

3-4 c. chicken broth (warm)

1/2 c. canned pumpkin

¼ c. parmesan cheese

2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

2 TBSP butter

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

Directions

In a large, non-stick skillet, heat vegetable oil. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and garlic, and sauté 2-3 minutes or until onion begins to soften.  Add uncooked rice, and toast rice stirring constantly with a flat edge wooden spoon/spatula.  Cook rice for 2 minutes or until rice turns from a pearl white to an opaque white.  Some grains may begin to turn a golden brown.  Add warm chicken broth a ladle and a spoonful of pumpkin at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed.  Continue this until rice is tender.  If you run out of chicken broth, use water. Test the risotto frequently to make sure it doesn’t over cook.  At the end, stir in parsley flakes, parmesan cheese, and butter.  Serve immediately with chicken.

While risotto is cooking, combine seasonings—cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic powder—in a small bowl.  Sprinkle seasoning combination on both side of each chicken breast.  Coat a skillet with non-stick cooking spray.  Over high heat, sear chicken breasts.  Turn once to sear the opposite side. Reduce heat and continue cooking until juices run clear.  Slice and serve chicken over pumpkin risotto.

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