Chicken Leg Farrotto With Pearl Onions & Spinach
by Ethan Stowell, Chef, Ethan Stowell’s New Italian Kitchen, Seattle, Washington
- 1 pound Smart Chicken legs
- 4 cups Parmesan Brodo (recipe follows)
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup farro
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (8-ounce) bag pearl onions, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 bunch spinach, washed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place chicken legs on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, pick the meat off the chicken legs and discard the bones. You should end up with about 1½ cups of loosely packed chicken.
Keep broth hot in a saucepan over low heat.
In a high-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and minced onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft.Add the farro and stir to coat in the butter, and then add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup of the Parmesan Brodo to the farro. Cook until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, stirring occasionally.
While the farrotto is cooking, heat the olive oil in a separate sauté pan over high heat. Add the pearl onions and sauté until well browned in spots and tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Add one more cup of broth to the farrotto and continue cooking until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add another 1½ to 2 cups of broth in half-cup additions. After each addition, continue tasting the farrotto for doneness. It should be nearly tender with some resilience. Add the chicken meat, spinach leaves, and onions. Cook until the spinach is completely wilted, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and fold in the cheese and remaining 4 tablespoons butter. The farrotto should be creamy and glossy. Serve.
- Parmesan Brodo
- 1 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds and ends
- 1 onion, peeled and halved
- 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
- A few sprigs parsley
- 1 gallon cold spring water
In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the broth is richly flavored and aromatic. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Use immediately, or freeze in ice-cube trays, and then transfer to a large resealable bag. The broth will keep in the freezer for 2 months.
Food For Thought: Farro
Farro is an ancient variety of wheat, high in protein and fiber. An essential food source for Mediterranean and Near Eastern populations for thousands of years, grano farro is known as the “original grain from which all other derive.”
Farro is sold whole, semi-pearled, or pearled and should be prepared by cooking in water until soft, but still crunchy. It is often used in salads and soups, but can be ground into flour to make pasta or bread. Farro is available in three grades: long, medium, and cracked. It is renowned for its light, nutty flavor and distinctive chewy texture. Farrotto is a dish similar to traditional Italian risotto in which farro is substituted for rice.