Pumpkin Risotto with Sage Roasted Chicken and a visit to Burt’s Farm in the North Georgia Mountains

Fall is definitely with us. The temperatures are beginning to cool off and the leaves are starting to change. It will soon be Halloween and then Thanksgiving and before you know it, it will be icy and snowy and freezing cold Christmas! That’s what the stores are telling me anyway. Have you seen the Christmas decorations that showed up in August this year?!

On the road again…I can’t wait to get on the road again!

Anyway, I am a happy camper (NOT!) to have Fall in our midst, however, I will miss all of the wonderful Summer produce (peaches!). When I think of Fall and Winter cooking, I think of squash, more squash and of course, pumpkins (and lots of them, too!).

Burt’s Pumpkin and Popcorn Farm

I decided I would get on with the program purchase a pumpkin to get into the swing of Fall, so I pulled Mr. Bunkycooks away from his college football game hard work this past weekend and we went for another On the Road with Bunkycooks adventure!

Burt’s Pumpkin Patch!

When you say the word “pumpkin,” you might as well say Burt’s Farm (although that’s two words) if you live anywhere near Dawsonville, Georgia.

This guy has more pumpkins than he has sense you could ever want! They even have hayrides with singing pumpkins at this place and more useless stuff than you could ever imagine. I really need to go back and see the singing pumpkins…what was I thinking to miss that?!

Look at all the white pumpkins!

If you are looking for decorations for Fall, Halloween or Thanksgiving including gourds, squashes or lots of pumpkins, you have definitely found your source (if you live anywhere near the North Georgia mountains).

I bought one lonely pumpkin, since I am depressed trying to adjust to the new season slowly. I am sure you are wondering why I would then haul our butts in this big ass RV to buy one pumpkin. Well, it just would not have been as much fun to get that pumpkin at Publix, would it now?

Wall of corn!

I decided to make what I would consider to be a perfect Fall dish for a chilly evening (although it wasn’t so chilly when I made it). I know cooler temps will soon be with us, so I am thinking ahead.

You have to have popped corn if you have all these ears of corn!

Here is my recipe for Pumpkin Risotto with Sage Roasted Chicken. This dish is earthy and flavorful and perfect to pair with a nice bottle or Burgundy or Chianti. You don’t want to overpower the flavors in the risotto, so don’t yank out that big fat Cabernet that you have been dying to drink!

Yes, this is Moonshine Jelly!

This is a classic risotto, so there is some stirring, but it will be so worth it when you take the first bite! I made sage butter roasted chicken breasts to add to the risotto, but you could certainly serve it without the chicken as an entree or a complimentary side dish. I drizzled a little Black Truffle oil over the finished risotto for one more layer of decadent flavor!

These would make a whole lotta risotto!

Pumpkin Risotto with Sage Roasted Chicken

Serves 4


2 chicken breast halves, with bone in and skin on
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon chopped sage
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/4 cups diced (1/4 inch) peeled, seeded, fresh pumpkin (preferably from a Sugar Pumpkin)
3/4 cup finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth (I use Swanson’s Organic)
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
8 ounces Arborio rice
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) chopped, fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/3 cup)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Black Truffle oil


For chicken:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, mix together the softened butter and chopped sage. Rub the butter mixture all over the chicken breasts (including underneath the breast bone and under the skin). Bake in a shallow baking pan for thirty to 40 minutes until the temperature is 160 degrees at the thickest part of the breasts. Remove from the pan, lightly cover with aluminum foil and let rest until cool enough to cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside the cut-up chicken breast. You will have some leftover after making the risotto.

For risotto:
Cook diced pumpkin in a medium saucepan in simmering water until tender, two to three minutes. Drain and set aside.

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan and keep at a low simmer. Add fresh thyme sprigs. Cook shallots in olive oil in a medium heavy saucepan (or risotto pan) over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about two minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, one minute. Add one cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering, adding broth one half cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about fifteen minutes total. * You should have about one half cup of broth left.

Add in the cooked pumpkin, cooked chicken breast (I added about one cup), chopped fresh thyme (to taste). Add another one half cup of broth and stir constantly until almost all is absorbed. Add butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Taste for seasonings.

Serve immediately. Drizzle with truffle oil (optional) and garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.