This is a great one-pot meal that showcases the flavours 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.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ to 4 pounds), cut in eighths
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed
½ tsp freshly grated black pepper, plus more if needed
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, diced
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 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into
2 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
1/2 cup sweet apple cider (can be replaced with an additional cup of chicken broth, if desired)
2 cups pearl barley
2 sprigs rosemary
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup grated firm local sheep’s milk cheese, Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
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.
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, thyme, nutmeg, and the remaining teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
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.
Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Add the butter and the cheese, if using, 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.
Adapted from a recipe by Brendan Vesey in Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods, edited by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher. This recipe was originally published in Edible Chesapeake.