Creamy Chicken and Farro

Farro is pretty much my new obsession. It has that wholesome flavor that I always crave during the deep, dark, depths of winter. The weather has been so up and down lately, and today we are back in the dark cold depths of February. Farro is full of fiber and nutrients but will also satisfy your craving for carbs. And so many fabulous chefs are doing amazing things with this simple grain. My second favorite thing about farro is that it is an ancient grain! Why would you not want to eat the grain that Egyptian kings enjoyed?

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There are a variety of farro brands/items out there. I think that all of them are interesting, just read the labels because some of them require overnight soaking. Pearled has less nutrients but is essentially ready to cook. Whole grain farro probably has more nutrients but does require much longer prep/cook times. Those longer times could actually be good for your recipe if you are leaving something in the crockpot for 8 hours, the whole grain farro will definitely hold up.

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This dish rings in at about 370 calories for a 1 cup serving. It is extremely filling and will stick with you all day. It is so nice to have something that tastes creamy and indulgent but that is not just jam packed with unnecessary calories. It keeps well in the fridge and reheats like a dream in the microwave for a delightful work lunch. If you are worried about the milk ingredient, just use whatever you have. It will be fine. Add a touch of half and half if you want to give it a boost. I almost always have carrots but don’t constantly stock celery, so I often make this dish sans celery.

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Creamy Chicken and Farro

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cups dry farro
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup 2% milk and 1/2 cup half and half
2 heaping cups cooked, chopped chicken
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the farro and toast for 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour in the 4 cups chicken stock and bring this to a boil.

While the farrow is cooking, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, season with salt and pepper. Saute this for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and softened. Add the thyme and garlic, cook for 1 minute more.

Mix in the flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly to incorporate any dry flour. Use a whisk to incorporate the milk into the vegetable and flour. Whisk constantly. Reduce heat to low and allow it to cook for 3 minutes until it thickens.

Transfer the vegetable mixture to the farrow and stock. Stir to combine. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the farro is cooked and thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken

Bubbly Kitchen is definitely fighting the winter blues with hearty comfort food. Its a bit gray outside today and I find myself day dreaming of warmer days and Royals baseball. And then I remember that we have this whole hideous month of February to get through. But this amazing meal will fill your kitchen with warmth and all of the good smells.

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I adapted this recipe from Thomas Keller’s book, Ad Hoc. Every recipe in that book is on my to do list. But I thought that I would listen to TK and start with perfecting a roast chicken, he says this will make me a better chef. This chicken is so, so good. I definitely followed the instructions which included letting the skin dry out on the counter for an hour and salting the chicken 30 minutes before cooking it. This made an incredibly delicious and perfect skin. The inside is extremely juicy and full of flavor.

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Coq au Vin

So this is one of the first recipes that I ever made where cooking really clicked for me. At the time I was just a beginner, and to me this was a “weekend recipe.” I dedicated a Sunday to figuring this recipe out. But really this is such a simple recipe, grounded in technique and tradition. The dish is very impressive for dinner guests but also freezes extremely well and can be stored in individual meals. I typically use legs and thighs but I have used chicken breasts before. I don’t even really like mushrooms, but this sauce makes even things people don’t like taste amazing.
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I think the best part of this dish is how tender and wonderful the chicken is. This is an amazing way to cook chicken and the method imparts so much wonderful flavor. And as any of my faithful readers know… If a recipe starts with bacon, I am probably going to be making it. But the first time I cooked this, I learned about cooking onions and carrots in bacon fat. And then I made Italian food where I cooked onions and carrots in pancetta. Everything clicked for me. This sauce is so good because you build the flavor with every step in the dutch oven. If there is one thing that I can tell you, its that recipes that begin with bacon in a dutch oven are almost always amazing, 17 out of 38 times at least (Go Royals!).
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When it comes to wine, Coq au Vin has so many options and they are all so invigorating. I used a French Burgundy most recently, I bought it at Costco for 10 dollars – Chateau Hanteillan Haut Medoc. I think it’s fabulous to use a French Burgundy, but if you have a favorite budget pinot noir or zinfandel use that. It’s important to cook with a wine that you enjoy drinking. But you really don’t need to cook with high end producers.
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Vegetable Packed Jambalaya


I have not always been the biggest vegetable fan. In fact there was a time that my early 20’s self would not even buy onions even if a recipe called for them. Now onions, garlic, celery, carrots, kale, green beans, and brussels sprouts are just a few of the many things that are constantly on my grocery list. In an effort to be more health conscious, I try to spend as much time perusing the fresh food areas as I do the entire rest of the store. Sometimes I get a little carried away, so sometimes… I make this jambalaya. I attribute my new appreciation for vegetables to living in the South. The growing season is so long here that there is always an abundance of beautiful fresh fruits and veggies. And I have learned that Southern cooking is not about fried foods, it’s not even about barbecue or butter or pie. It is all about the veggies.

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Traditional southern cooks relied on a prolific harvest to feed their families. They also preserved these vegetables in many different ways so that they could eat all winter on what they grew in the summer. This is mind-boggling and so inspirational. It seems like we are so disconnected from our food. Especially with all the chemicals, plastics, and genetic modifications our food seems to be experiencing these days. I don’t know what it means for our health or the future of our food. But I do know that many people used to survive in the South mostly on what they grew in their own garden. And when you get back to this, and approach your home cooking with seasonal, fresh, local produce… something amazing happens to your relationship with food. Continue reading

Chicken Korma

I know, I know, you’re getting sick of the slow cooker recipes here. But I have not grown tired of the crock pot just yet! Besides my new addiction to this kitchen appliance, I have always had an addiction to Indian food. It’s just so freaking good. This Chicken Korma is a nice change of pace from the traditional stews and roasts of winter. It will totally warm you up but the spices are like nothing else. I had a real live Indian person taste this Chicken Korma. She reports that it is authentic. So I win. My other win here is that only one out of every ten recipes receives the honorable high approval of my husband. When he really likes something he says, “that [insert food here] is bangin’.”

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Chicken thighs are a new ingredient staple for me these days. For some reason I always bought chicken breasts in the past. But these really hold up to longer cooking times and work better in soups or a curry like this one. And it is much cheaper than boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This recipe should serve 8. A serving is 1 cup chicken plus 1/2 cup cooked rice. And amazingly it comes out to around 350 calories! Indian food for 350 calories? Yes, it is true. Besides how delicious this curry is, the second best thing is that you should have these spices in your pantry. These are pretty basic ingredients and not the unusual spices you often find in Indian recipes. So hopefully you have these in your kitchen, because you are going to love this recipe. Continue reading