The first snowstorm of the year seemed like the perfect time to stay in and make a comforting winter meal. We started with pumpkin soup, and then made some roasted chicken breast, braised cabbage, and mushroom farrotto (risotto with farro instead of rice). I realized when I was taking pictures at the end that I had a plate of brown food…oops! I usually like my plates to have a little more color, but it was so comforting and delicious that I didn’t care.

For the chicken…

I made a pretty straightforward pan roasted bone-in chicken breast. I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and seared it, skin side down, in a cast iron skillet for a few minutes until the skin was lightly browned. I then flipped it and put it in a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes. I tested it with a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature was 165 degrees. The skin was nice and crisp and the inside stayed juicy. I made sure to make extra for chicken salad!

For the cabbage…

We had almost a full head of savoy cabbage left over from ribollita. I was remembering that one of the few things I liked about the food I had in Prague was that meat was always accompanied by cabbage. I might be weird, but I love cabbage! I envisioned some kind of braised cabbage to go with my chicken and I found this Bacon Braised Cabbage recipe from Jamie Oliver. I made it without bacon for Matt, but I loved the idea of adding some Worcestershire sauce. I created my recipe based off of his, adding some smoked paprika so the vegetarian version still had a slightly smoky flavor and some onion for a little sweetness.

Olive oil
Butter
1 small onion, chopped
9 c. savoy cabbage, chopped
1 c. vegetable stock
1.5 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

I first sautéed the onion in some olive oil and butter in a very large skillet until it started to get soft.

I then added the cabbage, seasoned with salt and pepper, and turned the heat up to high. Next, I added the vegetable stock and Worcestershire sauce. I immediately covered the pan and let it cook for five minutes. I ended up turning down the heat to medium-high after a couple of minutes. Then, I cooked it uncovered for another five minutes, adding a little bit of water when it got too dry. At the end, I seasoned with the paprika and a little more salt.

I have to pat myself on the back for this one. Matt wasn’t very excited when I said I was making a side of cabbage, but then he couldn’t stop snacking on it.

For the farrotto…

I don’t have an exact recipe for this because Matt is really the risotto maker and I didn’t get a chance to write it all down. I’ll have to do a separate post sometime on his method, because his risotto is the best. He made the mushroom farrotto using pretty much the exact same method.

He started by soaking some dried porcinis in hot water to make a mushroom broth. When the dried mushrooms were soft, he chopped them to add to the risotto later. He also added the mushroom broth to some store bought vegetable stock and put it on the stove to keep warm.

He then sautéed the shallot with some fresh thyme leaves in some olive oil and added the farro when it started to become translucent. After cooking the farro for a couple of minutes, he added the wine and let it cook down. Then, like risotto, he added the warm stock a little bit at a time, constantly stirring until the farro was just about cooked.

At this point, he added some sliced cremini mushrooms along with the reconstituted porcinis.

When the farro was just a minute or so from being done, he added a couple of generous pats of butter.

He then took the farrotto off the heat and let it sit for a couple minutes. Finally, he grated in some parmesan cheese.

Farrotto ends up not being quite as creamy as risotto, but the grains retain a great texture and have a wonderful nutty flavor. Farro is quite healthy, too!

And here is the final dish.

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