Do you like to try new restaurants or do you prefer to eat what you know, what already tastes good, what’s reliable??? I absolutely love trying new restaurants. I think food is fun (or at least it should be!) and when you’re trying something new there is a sense of thrill to the unknown.
Recently, while on a quick trip visiting friends in Orlando, we ate at Bravo! It is owned by the same restaurant group as Brio. Very comparable if you don’t have a Bravo! by you. While looking at the menu and deciding what to eat, I noticed a couple dishes included farro. Farro? I’ve never heard of it nor had my friends Lauren and Mike. So we googled … It’s a nutty rich grain that seems very versatile.
Mike got the balsamic glazed chicken which sat on top a bed of orzo and farro pilaf. It was delish! This one bite experience with farro left me intrigued and wanting to try to find it in my local supermarket! There it was near the rice but down on the bottom shelf where I almost missed it because it was hidden. I searched the internet for a similar recipe of Mike’s meal but was unsuccessful. With only the list of ingredients listed under the description of the entree, I attempted to recreate the dish.
I started by cooking both the orzo and farro separately due to different cook times and grain to liquid ratio. I used chicken stock to add another element to the dish but water would work just fine.
While the orzo and farro were cooking I started preparing the chicken. I found a recipe on Recipe Girl’s site that was a great starting point for my inspiration. She originally used thyme, however, I substituted basil and I also added garlic powder to better fit the flavor profile with the pilaf. I usually like to use thinly sliced chicken breast, or sometimes called chicken cutlets. They tend to cook a lot faster but my local supermarket had chicken breast on sale so I just took a few extra minutes to cut them in half crosswise myself. Generally, chicken breasts are cheaper than buying the chicken cutlets. I should stop being so lazy, save a little money, and just do it myself right?!
I followed the original recipe as far as cooking the chicken and it turned out quite delish!
When the orzo and farro were finished cooking, I drained them both completely. I combined them into one pot, drizzled it with a small amount of EVOO to prevent sticking, and set it aside.
I wanted to soften the tomatoes and chickpeas before incorporating them with the orzo/farro mixture. I sauteed them in a little EVOO and minced garlic on medium heat. After I let them cook for a little I added marinated artichokes and olives and continued cooking just until heated through. I then stired in the orzo/farro mixture until well incorporated.
Right before serving add the feta and fresh basil. Give one last stir before adding it to the plate. You could also choose to leave the tomatoes raw and add them at the end with the feta and basil. If you decide to do that, I would suggest to heat the chickpeas in a small amount of water for about 5 minutes to help soften them before adding them to the artichokes and olives while heating.
Finish the dish by drizzling some of the balsamic glaze on top of the chicken. You may want to put a little extra on since it tasted great once mixed with the pilaf!
And there you have it … Recipe recreation a success!!!
If it’s one things I have learned it’s don’t let the “fear of the unknown” stop you from trying a new dish or ingredient. Food is a low risk that has such a high potential for great reward! Ultimately, what’s the worst that can happen … you don’t like it?! Don’t be afraid to put your gastronomical comfort on the line and try something new!
- 4 boneless chicken cutlets or 2 chicken breasts cut in half horizontally, parallel to the cutting board
- 2 teaspoons fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- garlic powder to taste
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, EVOO
- 1/2 cup farro, rinsed
- 1/2 cup orzo
- 4 cups flavored stock
- 1/2 cup water
- feta, crumbles
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2-3 garlic stuffed olives
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 4-5 marinated artichokes
- 1/2 can chickpeas
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters depending on size
- In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, basil, and garlic powder. Coat both sides of chicken with spice mixture.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, cook 2-3 minutes per side or until browned. Transfer chicken to plate and cover with foil.
- Wipe out skillet with wet paper towels. Careful as the pan is very hot.
- Add water, honey, and vinegar to skillet. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling until mixture is reduced by half and a slightly syrupy consistency, about 2 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted.
- Reduce heat to medium low and return chicken back to skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes per side to cover chicken in glaze and allowing chicken to be thoroughly cooked.
- Serve drizzled with glaze.
- In medium pot add 1/2 cup rinsed farro to 1 1/2 cups flavored stock. Add pinch of salt. (optional) Cover and bring to a low boil for 15 minutes or until "al dente" or chewy. Drain and set aside in medium bowl.
- In separate medium pot, bring 2 1/2 cups flavored stock and 1/2 cup water to a rapid boil. Add orzo. Add 1 teaspoon salt (optional) and bring to second boil. Cook orzo, stirring occasionally, until "al dente", approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain. Add orzo to farro and drizzle with EVOO to prevent sticking.
- Add EVOO to large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and garlic cook until tender. Add olives and artichokes to skillet. Stir until well mixed and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add feta and fresh basil right before serving.
- If you want to leave the tomatoes more raw, you can add them with the olives and artichokes. The chickpeas can still be heated in skillet like original recipe or you can soften them in pot of warm water for 5 minutes or until softened. You can also cook orzo and farro in water omitting the flavored stock. In above recipe I used a whole box of chicken stock and just added 1/2 cup of water to orzo in order to not open additional can and keep appropriate water to orzo ratio.