Weeknight meal: skilled-roasted chicken with farro and herb pistou

A longtime friend of mine once declared that he doesn’t trust a man who: 1) doesn’t drink alcoholic beverages; 2) doesn’t enjoy pornography; and 3) doesn’t enjoy spicy food.  To this I’ve added a corollary:  never trust a cook or chef who doesn’t claim that roast chicken is one of his (or her) favorite meals.  I think these are safe enough rules to live and judge people by.  And though I’ve never met Sean Brock and really have no desire to ever meet him, based on his recipe for what is essentially a roast chicken, I think it’s safe to say he’s a chef worth trusting.

Yes, it takes two days to do properly but it really is so simple that it’s almost inconceivable as to how somebody could fuck it up:  it’s fool-proof roast chicken.  Marinate overnight, ghetto sous-vide it the next, chill in an ice bath, and pan roast in a cast iron skillet.  If you fail to obtain a crunchy skin and juicy interior, you probably should just not be cooking.  That may sound a bit harsh, but it really is that easy.  And most importantly it’s delicious.

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The farro, cooked risotto style will take about an hour, and assuming you’ve roasted the squash in advance, you can accomplish everything you need to in this hour including making the pistou.  I have kale growing in the garden, so I cut some baby leaves off in order to skip the blanching step altogether (the second night I used some chard from the garden in lieu of the kale).

For the pistou I simply use whatever herbs I have on hand:  basil, parsley, tarragon, chives.  If we have chervil in the garden then I’ll use it; I’ve never had much luck finding chervil at a grocery store which is a shame because I think it’s one of the least utilized herbs out there (while I think parsley is used far too much).

For our family of four a whole chicken is currently enough to feed us for two nights, especially because I make a full batch of the farro for each night, allowing us to skimp a little on the protein.

Here are the recipes for the chicken, the farro, and the pistou.

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