Chicken, Apple & Butternut Squash Barlotto

Winter 2009 Recipe

Contributed by Edible Communities

Brendan Vesey
Chef, The Boot
Norfolk Virginia

This is a great one-pot meal that showcases the flavors of fall and will make your kitchen smell incredible. Barlotto is a risotto-style dish in which the short-grain rice is replaced by pearl barley, eliminating much of the stirring and finicky nature of risotto. Pearl barley is available at most supermarkets or natural foods stores. I like to use free-range chickens from Full Quiver Farm in Suffolk, Virginia and Double A Farm in Yale, Virginia. Piedmont cheese from Everona Dairy in Rapidan, Virginia is perfect in this recipe, but Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano will work if you can’t find local cheese. The barlotto minus the chicken would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving table.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper, plus more if needed
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ to 4 pounds), cut in eighths
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks, or 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 Stayman or other firm-fleshed apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup apple cider (can be replaced with an additional cup of chicken broth)
  • 2 cups pearl barley
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup grated firm local sheep’s milk cheese or Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. In a large ovenproof sauté pan or Dutch oven with a capacity of at least 5 ½ quarts, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place four pieces of the chicken in the pan and brown well on both sides, a total of 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Repeat with the remaining four pieces of chicken. Set aside.

2. Pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the oil remaining in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion to the sauté pan and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan and stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in the squash, apples, nutmeg, and the remaining teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

3. Stir in the chicken broth, apple cider, barley and rosemary and bring to a boil. Boil gently for 5 minutes. Place the chicken pieces and any juices on top, skin side up, in a single layer if possible. Turn off the heat. Cover the pan loosely with foil or parchment paper. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 1 hour.

4. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Add the butter and cheese to the hot barlotto in the pan, stirring until the butter is melted. The barlotto should be quite runny. If not, add a little chicken broth or water. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. To serve, place the barlotto into a large shallow serving bowl and top with the chicken pieces.

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