Riverford Wicked Leeks
Chicken, Jerusalem artichoke and mushroom speltotto recipe image

Print Chicken, Jerusalem artichoke and mushroom speltotto

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall coined the lovely term 'speltotto' for spelt risottos, but the dish has been cooked in Italian for centuries going under the name of orzotti. Pearled spelt works in the same way as risotto rice but has a nutty flavour and a more robust texture. Use risotto rice if you prefer. If vegetarian, omit the meat.


  • 5g dried porcini mushrooms, chopped
  • 50ml boiling water
  • 50g butter
  • 1 leek, finely sliced & cleaned of any mud or grit
  • 150g pearled spelt
  • 100ml white wine (optional, use more stock if you need to)
  • 500ml hot veg or chicken stock
  • 200g Jerusalem artichokes, unpeeled but scrubbed well, diced
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 3-4 mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
  • 100g cooked chicken, thinly sliced (about 1 chicken breast)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan, grated
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and pour over the boiling water. Leave to soak.
  2. In a large heavy based pan, heat half the butter, then add the leeks and cook gently for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the spelt and stir to combine. Increase the heat, add the wine and stir until just evaporated.
  3. Reduce the heat slightly, so the liquid is just lightly bubbling. Gradually add the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring constantly, until it has been absorbed and the spelt is cooked through but still has some bite, about 30-40 minutes.
  4. While the spelt is cooking, put the Jerusalem artichokes and the lemon juice in a pan of boiling water and cook until the artichokes are soft, about 8 minutes. Drain and put in a blender, adding just enough water to purée the artichokes.
  5. Heat the rest of the butter in a small pan and fry the mushrooms until tender.
  6. Once the spelt is just cooked, add the artichoke purée and the mushrooms with the liquid they soaked in. Cook for another couple of minutes. Add the cooked chicken, mushrooms and Parmesan, stir to combine, season to taste and serve.  

Cooks notes

If you haven’t got porcini mushrooms, leave them out; the recipe works well with or without them.

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