Baked Chicken & Squash with Parmesan Farro

3 Jan

When my husband talks about his Michigan relatives this time of year – I hear the words, “they are on shut down.”  Ditto for many of our local friends as they work as either educators or in the aerospace industry.  It’s this magical time where they don’t have to work the last two weeks of the year.

My husband and I are not part of this exclusive club.

Truth be told, this time of year is usually pretty easy though – as my customers’ shipments leave for their retailers in late October, the end of the year typically means buttoning up last minute requests.  But not this year.  Somewhere around Halloween my last name was changed to ‘pants-on-fire.’  My theory is that I must have incorrectly filled out my jury duty summons form and requested a name change accidentally when I served the last week of October.

The good news is that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The tunnel is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  It is a very long, nerdy tunnel that if I were to equate it to a recipe, it would be 3 parts really cool innovation and innovators, 1 part tech press extravaganza, and 1 part adult men that don’t seem to care about personal hygiene/personal space.

So to keep my sanity, I wanted a little TLC this week and that came in the form of some super healthy comfort food.  A dish that’s baked, simmered, and stirred to perfection:  Baked Chicken & Squash with a Parmesan Farro.

{Gina’s Take}

When it’s all said and done, this dish is kinda like a casserole and sorta like a risotto…I’ve even seen this type of prep for the farro referred to as farrotto…but that seems weird to me…and so very Hollywood…like the Branjelena of grains or something.

If you’re new to the farro grain – you’re in for a pleasant surprise – it’s nutty, filling, and a healthier alternative to white rice, cooking in about the same amount of time.  Usually I buy it in the bulk section of Whole Foods, but as luck would have it, it was the only grain – out of like 100 – in our Whole Foods that was out of stock {sigh}.  Luckily, you can also buy it pre-packaged, so it was on the shelf a couple aisles deep near the rice.

The trick to this recipe is to get the chicken and squash in the oven at the same time the farro is simmering on the stove.  Time it right so the cook times  - about 30-35 minutes – line up and you’re pulling the chicken and squash out of the oven at the same time the chicken stock has evaporated.  Mix together with the parsley and yumminess is served!

{Pretty Little Tip}

Potato peeler to the rescue!  No need to use a sharp knife to peel your butternut squash.  A simple potato peeler does the trick!  This allows you to remove just the tough skin, leaving the veggie flesh – and if you’re clumsy like me – your fingertips – in tact!

 

PS:  Special thanks this week for stopping by!  I wish you and your family, roommates, and/or pets a very Happy New Year!

xo – gina

 

Baked Chicken & Squash with Parmesan Farro

Ingredients

  • 1 small squash, peeled and cubed (~2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp ground dried sage
  • 1lb chicken breasts (~2 large chicken breasts), cut in to bite sized pieces
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups pearled farro, rinsed and drain
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
  • 3 cups chicken stock, warmed
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

    Squash
  1. In a small bowl, combine squash, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and sage. Toss until squash is evenly coated. Set aside.
  2. Chicken
  3. In a small bowl, combine chicken, salt, paprika, garlic powder, fennel seed, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Toss until chicken is evenly coated. Set aside.
  4. Line a 9"x13" dish with aluminum foil, and add the squash to the pan making an an even layer. Then add a second layer of chicken resting on top of the squash. Place pan in a 375F preheated oven and cook until done, about 30-35 minutes.
  5. In the meantime...
  6. Farro
  7. Using a medium saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Once warmed, add the scallions and cook until they start to soften. Then stir in the rinsed farro and add the wine. Simmer until all of the wine is absorbed. Once the wine is absorbed, slowly add the warmed chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Leaving the lid ajar, let the farro simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the stock has been absorbed - this takes about 25 minutes.
  8. Once the stock as been completely absorbed, remove from heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese, and allow to rest with the lid on, for about 5 minutes.
  9. Once the cheese is melted, stir in the chicken, squash, and parsley and serve.
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8 Responses to “Baked Chicken & Squash with Parmesan Farro”

  1. Robin January 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    How much wine did you use?

    • Pretty Little Dishes January 5, 2014 at 12:27 am #

      hi robin! eek! sorry about that – i updated the recipe – 1/4 of a cup. i buy those little tiny wine bottles that they sell in the 4 packs at the store for this sort of thing – no need to open an entire normal sized bottle. i hope you enjoy it! xo

  2. Carmen January 9, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    Do you cook the chicken before putting it with the squash? or do you put uncooked chicken over the squash?

    • Pretty Little Dishes January 10, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

      hi carmen – layer the uncooked seasoned squash, then add a layer of the seasoned, uncooked chicken, then bake together. let me know how it goes! xo – gina

  3. Virginia Mabry January 16, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I used plain farro instead of pearled (because I couldn’t find it) and it turned out well. It took about 30 minutes for me to cook. This is a very easy meal to prepare during the week.

  4. Lauren August 23, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    Do you think you can freeze the leftovers of this dish? I live alone and was hoping to not let what I don’t eat go to waste!! It’s so yummy! Thanks!

    • Pretty Little Dishes August 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      hi lauren – i have never tried (we eat this up pretty quickly at my house), but cooked farro, chicken, and squash all freeze well, so it should be ok. maybe try a small batch overnight as a test run? if you give it a whirl, let us know how it turns out!
      xo – gina

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