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Author Notes: This is a one pot wonder. Chicken, sausage, and vegetables are browned and then lots of sage, thyme, and rosemary are added. To this, a few cups of farro and good chicken stock - simmer for an hour and on the table. The farro creates a delicious, risotto like base for the chicken and sausage. Barley is a perfectly acceptable substitute for the farro, but I like farro's nuttier flavor. You can also add cubed butternut squash, turnips, or any other root vegetable to this dish - but the fennel should be the dominant flavor profile. —Burnt Offerings
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat or olive oil (I like the bacon fat for the flavor)
- 6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
- 6 links of good quality, sweet Italian sausage, or you could use a good chicken sausage.
- 1 large yellow onion - diced
- 1 large fennel bulb - diced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs each of sage, rosemary and thyme. Leaves removed from stems and finely chopped
- 2 tsp, plus 1 TBL kosher salt - divided
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups farro
- 4 cups good, quality chicken stock, preferable homemade
- freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano for serving
- Allow the meats to come to room temperature. Rinse and pat dry the chicken thighs and season them well on both sides with 2 tsp. kosher salt from high above the meat so it is evenly distributed. Set them aside so the salt has a chance to melt into the meat.
- In a large Dutch oven, heat the bacon grease or olive oil on a medium high setting until the pan is quite hot. A hot pan is the key to not having your meat stick when you're browning it.
- Add the sausages and brown them well on all sides - about 4 minutes total. Remove them from the pan and add the chicken thighs, skin down, and brown them well too. This will take about 3 minutes per side. Don't mess with them! Let them brown. After three minutes, check to see if they are browned enough - they should turn over easily if they are. Remove the chicken to the plate with the sausages.
- Immediately added the chopped onion, carrots, and fennel to the Dutch oven and turn the heat down to medium. The natural juices of the vegetables will deglaze the pan. Saute the vegetables for 6 minutes, scraping up any browned bits of meat.
- Add the chopped herbs and garlic, and stir to incorporate - about 2 minutes.
- Add the farro and stir well, allowing each grain to get covered in oil and juices. Let the farro toast for a few minutes.
- Pour in the chicken broth, salt and pepper, and stir well. Nestle the chicken and sausages back into the pan, along with any juices.
- Turn the heat down to a bare simmer, cover the pan - but let the lid slightly ajar so steam can escape, and let the farro absorb the stock and the meat to finish cooking for one hour. Turn off the heat, and let the dish sit covered for another 15 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning - add more salt if you like, and serve a chicken thigh, and piece of sausage mounded onto the farro and vegetables. Sprinkle with Parmesan Reggiano and some freshly chopped parsley for garnish and color.