Saturday, January 12, 2013

Farro with Bacon and Apples

Any out there ever had farro? Or heard of it?  Over the past year or so I have seen several recipes for this Italian grain in Bon Appetit and other gourmet magazines.  When I looked for it at the fancy grocery stores it was VERY expensive - over 5 dollars a box - too pricey for me!  So I was excited when I found this bag in the new product section of Trader Joe's for under $2.  I discovered that it is very similar to barley and has a nice nutty texture that blends well with wintery flavors.

The package had a recipe for Farro with Sausage and Apples on the side - no sausage at home, so I decided to try something similar using some bacon pieces I had in the freezer.  Here's what I put together:

Farro with Bacon and Apples

2 cups uncooked 10 minute farro (1 package)
3 cups chicken broth
1/3 uncooked bacon pieces (Trader Joe's sells bits and pieces for cheap!)
1 small onion
1 small package of sliced mushrooms
3 small apples, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper
Fresh chopped rosemary (if you wish!)

1.  Heat the chicken broth in a medium pan until boiling.  Add the farro.  Turn down the heat and boil for about 10 minutes.  (The package directions said to drain the remaining broth when done, but I found it absorbed most of the broth.  Maybe I overcooked it?)  Let the faro rest in the pan covered for a few minutes, then fluff with a fork.

2. Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove the bacon, but leave any drippings behind for flavor.

3.  Cook the chopped onions for about five more minutes or until golden and soft, with olive oil if needed. Add a bit more olive oil to the pan, then toss in the apples and mushrooms and cook for another five minutes until softened.  In the last minute add the chopped garlic.

4.  Finally, add the faro and toss and cook for another minute.  Add salt and pepper to taste and fresh rosemary if desired.  Can be served warm or cold.

I think farro could be very versatile - as I prepared it, it would be great as a side dish.  With more meat or vegetables, it would make a great meal.  The next day I had it cold, tossed with some chopped baby spinach and parsley, topped with a few pine nuts, grated romano cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.  A perfect Mediterranean salad - I think this will be my lunch for the next few days!

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