Wednesday dinner: Farro with chicken, beans and goat cheese

From yesterday’s quinoa to today’s farro, I eat a lot of grains. We ate a lot of pasta when I was growing up (a lot), but beyond that and white rice, there was not a lot of variety. I think part of that was the 1980s and 90s did not see a lot of different grains showing up on grocery shelves.

I think the Food Network has helped this along. Emeril and Giada brought new words into our collective lexicon, regardless of how badly they pronounced or over-annunciated them. The expansion of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s raised the grocery game in terms of healthy and natural foods and I think Wegmans caught the wave and rode it. You see it with the expansion of their Nature’s Marketplace and the variety of store-brand products. Go down the rice aisle in Wegmans and check out what is private label these days: basamati and jasmine rices, quinoa and couscous blends, and farro.

The recipe from Bon Appetit that inspired tonight’s dinner was a cold salad. I thought that this was possible to do hot and not lose the essence of the meal. It was not bad. I would try this cold over the summer, but as a hot dish it had a nice balance of saltiness, sharpness (from the dijon) and tangy (goat cheese).

Farro with chicken, beans and goat cheese
By Jared Paventi

  • 1/2 cup semi-pearled farro
  • 2 cups chicken broth, cubed
  • 8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 12 oz. green beans, trimmed and washed and chopped in half
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled or cubed
  • sea salt
  • olive oil

Bring chicken broth to boil in a medium saucepan and add the farro. Cover and cook 18-20 minutes.

Heat about 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet. When it shimmers, add the green beans and saute. After 1-2 minutes, add the minced garlic. Saute 2-3 additional minutes, then add the scallions. Transfer veggies to a bowl.

Add chicken to the pan and pour another tablespoon of oil over the top. Toss a pinch of salt on the meat and cook 4-5 minutes, until cooked thoroughly. Add the veggies back to the pan and combine. Dump the farro in the skillet and toss with the veggies and chicken. Simmer up to five minutes to reduce any liquid by half.

Transfer to a serving bowl and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Toss with a serving spoon, top with goat cheese and toss again.

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