A new life sized poster of the very hot Jonathan Rhys Meyers stared down at me as I walked into the perfumery. "Anywhere in your Element" proclaimed the new Hugo Element Ad. I closed my eyes and was instantly transported to a day dream for a few seconds.
"Delicious!" I smirked as I came back to the real world. Heading towards the cashier I could hardly wait to bring my day dream to real life!
Just as the ad expressed - anywhere in my element. Being a Foodie my element is Food and so do not ask why or how an irresistible man like Jonathan Rhys Meyers sends me into day dreams of chicken, roasted vegetables, lime and farro . It just happens! Within the few seconds I had imagined what dinner would be. Thank you Jonathan!
OK so I'll admit there was an additional second to that daydream and although food was involved, it was not being eaten - but that's censored!
What's not censored is this dinner. It's a simple and healthy meal - the type we will often enjoy on a weeknight, quick to prepare but full of flavor. The oven takes care of most of the ingredients, where the chicken and vegetables are roasted with herbs and spices to bring out maximum aroma. While I love rice and especially a good risotto, we have been trying to find new healthier ways to enjoy our grains.
Farro is one of those grains I adore. It's versatile, tastes wonderfully nutty and can be used in soups, salads or as a lovely risotto. Farro is the Italian name for Emmer wheat and it is the original grain from which all other grains derive. For thousands of years it fed the people of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern regions. However due to the low yields it was replaced by other higher-yielding grains and farro's cultivation dwindled.
Today it is still very popular in Italy. Often it is confused with spelt but they are not the same grain. Farro must be pre-soaked for approximately 8 hours, whereas spelt can be boiled straight off. Cooked farro has a firm chewy texture, whereas spelt softens and becomes mushy. When shopping for farro look for farro perlato or "semi-perlato" farro grains, which means that the hull has been removed and there is no need to pre-soak - a great way to save time in the kitchen
As the crops produce lower yields, farro is a little more expensive in comparison to other types of grains. Nonetheless, farro is an extremely healthy whole grain alternative to many other types of grains. It is high in fiber, vitamin B and a great source of protein. Furthermore, as farro has a low gluten content, it can often be tolerated by those with wheat allergies. It is easily digestible into carbohydrates for energy, not to mention it rates medium on the glycemic index.
So, if you are following a low glycemic index diet or Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet, farro can be very appropriately integrated into your meal plan.
Together with a roasted chicken aromatized with the tangy flavors of lime and herbs and vegetables caramelized in their own juices this entire meal is not only healthy but truly Delicious! Just as delicious and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
Recipe: Lime Chicken and Vegetable Farro Risotto
Printable version of recipe here.
1 organic whole chicken, approx. 1.5 kg
3 organic limes, zest from 2 limes
300g farro, semi perlato
2 red onions, cut into thick slices
1 each red and yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 fennel, sliced
500ml vegetable stock
4-5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
4 sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs of mint
Bunch of flat leaf parsley
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Thoroughly wash the chicken inside and outside, then using paper towels pat dry. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C.
- In a large mixing bowl toss the onions, bell pepper and fennel slices in 3 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables evenly in a roasting tray.
- Coming back to the chicken, brush the inside and outside with the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the zest of two limes.
- Stuff the chicken with the 2 zested limes and thyme. Place the chicken on the in the roasting tray along with the vegetables and roast for 60 to 90 minutes.
- For the farro, heat up the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toast the farro, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and simmer until the farro is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Do taste often while the farro is cooking, You want it to be tender but still chewy and retain its texture. Drain, cover and set aside.
- To test if the chicken is done, poke the thigh with a sharp knife, when the juices run clear it is done. Otherwise roast for a further few minutes.
- Chop up the parsley and mint. Squeeze the juice out of the remaining lime and toss well.
- Remove chicken and vegetables from the oven. Coarsely chop the vegetables. Add to the farro along with the herbs and the juice. Drizzle the 1 teaspoon olive oil. Check if the farro is still warm if not heat it through on medium heat. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
- Carve the chicken into individual pieces and serve with the farro risotto.
- If you like you can grate some Parmigiano Reggiano on top of the farro, for a more cheesy flavor.
- Toss in a few toasted pine nuts for a wonderful crunch.
- Vegetarians can add more vegetables and a few mushrooms for a wonderful aromatic dish.
I love watching Soeren digging into meals like this. He loves the taste but for me I know he is getting all the goodness from a well-balanced and healthy dinner. For Tom and me, it's meals like this that keeps us slim and trim but also gives us that extra boost of energy. It's got everything we need and like.
You might like these healthy meals from WFLH:
|Bulgur with Vegetables and Feta||Chickpea Pumpkin Tajine with Coconut Couscous & Coconut Chutney||Spicy Black Sesame Sea Bream with Corn-Coriander Salad|
From around the blogs:
- Sautéed Buckwheat and Pasta - Eden Organic
- Roasted Corn + Barley Risotto - Mighty Foods
- Millet Summer Salad - Artsy Foodie
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