One Skillet Chicken with Leeks and Farro ~ An easy and healthy everyday meal in a cast iron skillet ~ Chicken, leeks, farro, lemon and dill.
Hiii and Happy Friday! I can’t believe the first day of summer happened already this week… what happened to March? April?? May??? (Dang it. I knew someday I would become an adult that frequently muses about/somewhat laments how fast time goes…).
Today, though, I want to talk to you about one of my favorite and most-used kitchen devices: the cast iron skillet. Are you familiar? If you’re a fan of efficiency, versatility, and not dirtying up a lot of dishes, keep reading 🙂
I think my introduction to cast iron skillets started with frittatas. You see, I grew up in an eggs-and-toast type of family. Eggs on Sunday morning was a weekly breakfast ritual, so anything that fell under the category “egg bake” got automatic approval (we can put frittatas in that category, right?). When my mom got on a frittata-making kick, she taught me about this whole cast iron skillet deal. I remember being fascinated that you start the cooking process on the stove, and finish it in the oven. A recipe all in one dish? Yes, please! I’m all about that kitchen simplification.
Not only are cast iron skillets awesome for their cooking efficiency, but they’re also excellent tools to keep your food hot for longer. Just don’t grab the handle with your bare hand — it’s been in the oven for a while 😉 Oh, and another reason to love cast iron skillets? You can make sooo many different recipes, both savory and sweet, like this deep dish chocolate chip cookie with caramel and sea salt from Pinch of Yum. I know, right?! Just a big ol’ cookie in a skillet.
Maintaining Your Cast Iron Skillet
Since cast iron skillets are materially distinct from your average pots and pans, maintaining them has some different requirements. They dry out easily, so you need to “season” them, i.e. rub with a light coat of oil after you wash them. Someone once told me I wasn’t supposed to wash my cast iron skillet because the whole point of it was to allow the flavors of every meal blend together. Me: Oh cool. Wait, what? Ew, grody!
Soooo maybe that disqualifies me from cast iron skillet purism, but I’d rather not bake a cookie in the same pan that I sautéed onions and garlic in… anyone else on the same page? The trick is to let it cool completely before washing, and make sure to immediately coat it with oil (a thin coat will do). If you wash it or rinse it and never put oil on it, you’ll it notice it start to rust and dry out. Other than that, cast iron skillets are not super high maintenance, and totally worth the investment 🙂
BUT, the recipe. One skillet chicken with leeks and farro. First of all, can I just say fresh herbs make almost every recipe go from pretty darn good to holy sh** that’s amazing. And that’s saying a lot, because even though I try to cook with fresh herbs daily, I’m equally as amazed at their game changing qualities each time I use them. I chose dill for this recipe because I hadn’t used it in quite some time… admittedly, I was was giving pretty much all the attention to cilantro, mint and rosemary. And while I love me some citrus mint salad, I really needed to spread the love to the other herbs 😉
About That Thing Called Farro…
It’s really just another grain, but I have been wanting to cook something with it for the longest time, always inspired by recipes and magazine articles. Though similar in texture to barley and wheat berries, the flavor is just subtly distinct. Some also say it’s similar to spelt, but I can’t yet speak from my own experience. My verdict on farro? It’s delicious, and you shouldn’t definitely give it a shot if you haven’t yet.
A Few Tips
- Pre-cook your farro. If you’re reading this with time to plan ahead, make your farro when/if you meal prep earlier in the week, so that you have it ready to go for this recipe. Alternatively, buying pre-cooked farro reduces the cooking time by a lot. I bought my farro at Trader Joe’s, and it only took 10 minutes to cook, rather than 40 minutes. In any grocery store, pre-cooked farro will most likely be located in the section by other dried grains, beans, and pasta. If you can’t find it, check the organic/natural foods section too.
- Clean your leeks… or don’t 😉 Because sometimes you can buy them pre-cleaned and sliced! Fresh leeks can be a bear to clean because they get packed, and I mean PACKED, with dirt all up in their onion-like layers. Just when you think there couldn’t be more dirt, you will indeed find more dirt. This is one area where convenience is my best friend (hello pre-sliced frozen leeks); however, nothing beats fresh farmer’s market or garden produce. If you do buy fresh leeks at the farmer’s market or harvest them in your garden, I recommend this awesome tutorial on cleaning leeks. I love leeks… but I can’t say I love cleaning them 🙂
- Substitute another grain for farro, in a pinch. If you don’t have farro on hand, you can choose another grain such as barley, wheat berries, or spelt. You could also choose brown rice or quinoa, maybe, but I love that farro, barley, etc. are sturdier grains that get this awesome flavor/texture when sautéed and then baked.
With that, I give you one skillet chicken with leeks and farro 🙂
One Skillet Chicken with Leeks and Farro
A one skillet meal with chicken, leeks and farro, flavored with plenty of lemon and fresh dill. Perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal!
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Cast Iron Skillet
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, separated
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
- 2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
- 1 lb. chicken breast
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 Tbsp fresh dill, separated
- 2 cups leeks, sliced
- 2 cups farro, cooked according to package instructions
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, brush chicken on both sides with remaining olive oil and squeeze juice of 1 lemon over chicken. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of the fresh dill (add more if desired). Place chicken in cast iron skillet and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
- Add leeks and farro, and sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off stove heat. Squeeze juice of remaining lemon and 1 Tbsp dill over the entire skillet.
- Place skillet in oven and bake for 10-15 more minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked through.
- Divide into four equal servings, and serve with an additional squeeze of lemon.
- You can either cut the chicken up into four equal servings, or shred it and mix everything together into a big, delicious hodgepodge mess (with the below toppings, preferably ;)).
- Optional toppings: a fried egg, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, lemon, an extra drizzle of olive oil
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