Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Chicken, Mushroom & Asparagus Orzotto

Our asparagus is doing very well this year. This is our second round of asparagus from the garden. We still need to buy about twice as much as we pick to get what we want, but it's gratifying to see how the bed is improving. Of course the asparagus beetles have found it too, which is much less gratifying.

I have been on a chicken kick lately and it doesn't seem to be over yet. It does go awfully well with spring vegetables like asparagus and spinach.

4 servings
3o minutes to assemble; 1 hour advance prep

Chicken Mushroom and Asparagus Orzotto
Cook the Barley:
1 cup pot or pearl barley
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water

As ever, I prefer to cook the barley in my rice cooker. Dump the above ingredients in, turn on, walk away. Set the cooked barley in the fridge until wanted.

However, it could be cooked on the stove top as well. Put the above ingredients in a pot and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the water is just absorbed. Watch carefully towards the end to avoid scorching. It can be stirred occasionally if it seems necessary.

Make the Orzotto:
500 grams (1 pound) diced chicken
500 grams (1 pound) asparagus
shiitake mushrooms
2 cups diced green onions or other oniony stuff
1 or 2 cloves of garlic (optional)
1 teaspoon rubbed savory or basil
2 tablespoons chicken fat or vegetable oil
4 to 5 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

The chicken can be cooked or raw; this will only affect when it gets added to the dish.

Wash, trim and slice the asparagus into fairly dainty bite-sized pieces. Set it aside.

Trim the stems from the shiitakes - I set them on a dish to dry and save them to use in making stock - and slice the caps into ribbons.

You can use green onions, leeks, garlic greens, even wild leeks if you can get them. If using garlic greens or wild leeks I would not add garlic; otherwise peel and mince a clove or two.

Heat the chicken fat (prefered) or oil in a large skillet. If your chicken is raw, add the pieces to the pan now and cook them until lightly browned. Add the oniony stuff and cook down for a minute or two. Because it is green juicy stuff at this time of year I would not aim to brown it. Add the shiitakes and continue cooking and stirring well for a few more minutes. Add the garlic, if using, and cook for a minute more.

Add a good ladleful of stock to the pan, then mix in the barley. It's best to break it up with your hands to keep it from clumping. Once it is in, continue cooking the dish over medium heat, adding chicken stock as it is absorbed by the barley, and stirring frequently.

When most of the stock is in, and the barley has reached a slightly soupy/creamy stage, add the cooked chicken (if that's what you've got) and let it heat through. Then add the asparagus pieces and any remaining stock. Cook, stirring regularly, until the asparagus is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the sherry and the finely grated Parmesan, mix in well and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Last year at this time I made Beet & Radish Salad.

1 comment:

bellini said...

At the farmers market this moorning I came away with some fiddleheads, younbg garlic and local asparagus. It would be perfect for this dish!!!