We've been waiting to make this recipe for a while as we think that Farro is one of the best kept secrets of the grain family. Its versatility allows you to use it in any course of your meal from an addition to a soup, to a centerpiece of a chilled salad, as a side to your entree, or even puffed and served with honey as a dessert (think of the cereal Honey Smacks).
When cooking the farro, we like to use the standard mirepoix, or mixture of two parts onion, to one part each of celery and carrot and the addition of garlic and herbs, but you can use almost any root vegetables you’d like!
Farro is a grain, similar in shape and size to barley, that has a golden brown color and slightly nutty flavor when cooked. It's actually identified as one of the first ancient grains known to man/woman, with its origins being traced back to the Fertile Crescent and Ancient Mesopatomia over 10,000 years ago.
As we said, farro’s versatility is great and it being packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals makes it a healthy substitute for favorites such as pasta and rice.
When I was commuting into DC for work, I would only ever make quinoa for meal prepping and it wasn't until Jamie made farro for me, that I absolutely loved it and it became such an integral part of my meals.
Making farro is fairly simple, here's how to do it!
First you'll add some olive oil to your pot and once hot, add in the carrots, celery and onions. Turning the heat to medium-low, add in some salt and toast for about 6 minus.
Add the chopped garlic and toast for another minute.
Next, add the farro and chili flakes and continue to toast for 3 minutes.
Then, add the stock and bring it to a simmer, turning the heat to low and continuing to cook for about 20 minutes or until the stock has fully evaporated.
Finally, add the fresh thyme, zest and juice of the lemon, a bit of olive oil and season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
The beauty of this dish is that once it is cooked, you can use it so many different ways. The recipe below yields about 4 cups so even if you are only cooking for 1-2, you can use the farro throughout the week in many ways and never get bored of it.
Last week, we made farro and had it as a side with a whole roasted chicken for dinner. The following night, we made a stock with the body of the chicken, pulled the remaining meat off the carcass, and added the meat, along with some of the farro and some additional vegetables to the stock for a delicious chicken and farro soup for lunch. The next day, we tossed some of the chilled farro with some fresh citrus segments, zest and balsamic vinegar and paired it with some baby arugula to serve as a chilled salad under some grilled snapper. It was light and fresh and tasted nothing like either of the previous dishes. We also made beef bolognese, and instead of using pasta, used the farro to make farro bolognese! It had the same hearty richness you come to expect from the pasta dish but a little more nutritional value.
Cheers and eat well!
A versatile farro dish with carrots, celery, onions and thyme that can be served as a great side, a chilled salad or as a base for a soup.
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