Saturday, June 09, 2012

Roast Chicken and Mushroom Farro

Saturday 2 June
We bought a little fryer at Findlay Market this morning, and prepared it very simply: just dried it carefully, salted it inside and outside, and gave it a half hour at 450º, and the rest of the hour at 375º, until it was done. 
The big experiment was our side-dish: farro, which Holt bought on spec, possibly because he's been reading the Georgics - see his website Vergil's Garden, where he explains that farro, Latin far, is emmer, one of the earliest forms of wheat.
We had no idea whether our modern bag of farro was pearled, semi-pearled, or just picked from chaff, but I guess the first, because we didn't have to soak ours for 8 hours the way Lucius Spartacus the gladiator-cook does (if you've got 10 minutes, watch his demonstration of farro soup, including a reading of Catullus - it's priceless).

Instead, we went to this handy list and chose an appetizing recipe that cooked the farro with bacon and mushrooms.
We used regular button mushrooms, though - and you'd have to be nuts to do what they tell you and throw out good bacon fat in order to substitute butter.  Go with the fat you've got!
The resulting more bacony farro was excellent - full-flavored with succulent mushrooms.  We'll be doing this again!
...aut ibi flaua seres mutato sidere farra,
unde prius laetum siliqua quassante legumen... (Georgics I.73-4)

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