Fregola with Braised Chicken
After a 1 1/2 years I had 7 day break last week. A bit of rest, a new environment and the company of friends I don’t see a lot. It took me most of that time to unwind from getting ready to go. Now that I have a school leaver, he has his own life–no need for holidays with Mum, sandcastles on the beach, videos and entertainment– just me, free and unencumbered, sad without my baby, but free to do what I like. But no matter how old your baby is, you still have to organise for the dog, the cat, the fish and him to eat when you are gone.
“Dont forget to feed the cat and dog…make sure you turn the oven off….oh and the oven is tricky remember? If you shut it too fast the flame blows out… make sure you put out the garbage because cockroaches love it when you forget….. make sure you eat properly, the fridge is full of food, salad and juice and frozen fruit for smoothies, yoghurt and carrots dont forget to eat some…..
Skater did you hear me?” God, I hear you thinking, I’d ignore her too!
Well now I’m back.
The animals are alive and the house is pretty tidy. There has been some washing done, hung, dried and thrown in a heap near the laundry, but its been done. I think the milk and pet food has been replenished and he has sent me a picture of one ( maybe the only?) thing that he cooked (at the end of this post.) While I was away I vowed to try harder to stretch Skaters mono syllabic diet and my laziness at trying to encourage him to eat a wider variety of foods. I chastise myself for not bothering any more, for being discouraged when he asks me ” why cant I just have plain pasta?” when I put something interesting in front of him. I shall not be defeated, well at least not until February!
This Fregola with braised Chicken is the first thing I cooked . The sauce is made with both carrots and tomato and I blended them together to make a smooth sauce full of vegetables. I could be already failing in my mission too expand his diet as I am hiding vegetables in this sauce.
The Fregola though is a new pasta that I am introducing him to.
Do you know what Fregola or Fregola Sarda is? Not that it really matters here, cause Skater gobbled it up and thanked me for dinner, (!) but if you still want to know here goes.
It’s an Artisan pasta from Sardinia. Made from a simple course semolina dough, it’s rolled into rough elongated balls, then toasted so that there are dark and light pieces flecked throughout. It has a kind of nutty toasted flavour when cooked. There are a couple of sizes, I’ve used the smaller size Fregola but the larger is known as Fregolone or Fregola Grossa. It’s a bit like Israeli Couscous, if you need a comparison, only toasted!
Fregola can be cooked in stock or simmered in sauce . Used in soup or made into a “risotto”, a pilaff a rice substitute and I dare say as a part of a stuffing, salad, pie base, mixed with other ingredients to make a “cake” or patty and pan fried or even a rudimentary Arancini ball. Skater just had it tossed in a combination of olive oil and butter and some parmesan. To eat with his chicken and sauce.
Google pictures here of fregola
- 500 gm packet fregola sarda or fregalone
- 4 Chicken drumsticks
- 40 ml olive oil ( 2 Tablespoons)
- 40 gm flour (2 tablespoons)
- 1 carrot (diced)
- 1 small onion (diced)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 500 ml chicken stock (2 cup)
- 250 ml tomato passata ( plain tomato puree)1 cup
- 3 anchovies
- 250 ml chicken stock, extra (1 cup)
- 25 gm butter
- 20 ml of oil.
- 30 gm grated parmesan (to serve)
- 1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped (to serve)
- Put a deep fry pan or pot on to heat up. Mix the flour, salt and pepper and roll the chicken the ch in it add the oil to the pot. Fry the drumsticks on medium turning to brown on all sides.
- Turn down the heat and add the onion, carrot and garlic and toss till just fragrant, but not colouring. Drop in the stalk of rosemary add the stock, anchovies and passata into the pot and turn down to let it simmer
- Simmer with a lid on till the chicken is cooked through and falls from the bone easily when poked with a fork. ( Approx 20 minutes). Take the chicken out of the sauce and put aside.
- Meanwhile put a large pot of salted water on to boil
- Add the extra chicken stock to the tomato sauce and simmer till it starts to reduce and the carrots are soft enough to be squashed with a fork.
- Remove the rosemary and blend the sauce with a stick blender or Vita Mix blender. Pour the sauce back into the pot and remove the chicken from the bones, discarding the bones and sinew (also skin if you prefer), then add the chicken back into the smooth sauce. Simmer gently, to reheat the chicken.
- Boil the Fregola till it is still aldente but softened, much like ordinary pasta ( try a piece). Drain and return to the pot adding seasoning and oil or butter.
- Serve the Braised Chicken with carrot and tomato sauce with grated parmesan and chopped parsley
Blitzed in the Vita mix
You can buy Fregola Sarda and Fregalone on line at www.lario.com.au or other specialty food stores