Thursday, November 5, 2009

A little something to wet your appetite

Farro with mushrooms and asparagus
Meredith Berger, nutrition intern at Emerson Hospital, says, “Whenever I make a grain dish, I try to beef it up with some finely chopped vegetables to make the grain portion size smaller but be just as filling.” In this case, farro, rated medium on the glycemic index, is beefed up with asparagus and mushrooms. The addition of protein-rich chicken stock and sherry vinegar lower the overall GI of the dish. The cereal is an ancient cousin to modern day wheat and sometimes known as emmer wheat. High in B vitamins but low in gluten, it may be tolerated by some with wheat allergies. Choose the semi-pearled version, as it cooks faster than the whole grain. Farro is often cooked like rice or pasta. For this recipe, boil the kernels first and then transfer to a skillet to absorb the flavors of the sauce. To make the dish vegetarian, soak the mushrooms in 2 cups of water; reserve it and use in place of chicken stock.

Serves 4

1 ounce dried mushrooms
8 ounces semi-pearled farro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a small bowl, cover dried mushrooms with warm water. Soak for 25 minutes, or until softened. Drain the mushrooms, and discard the soaking water. Chop finely.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add farro, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and reserve.
3. In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add onion, garlic, thyme, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Stir in 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar. Continue cooking for 1 minute.
4. Add chicken stock, and bring it to a boil. Stir in farro, and return to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 10 minutes. Add asparagus. Cook, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.
5. Season with 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, salt and pepper.

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  1. i LOVE FARRO. My parents make a "winter" farro salad that is very similar to that just had TONS more mushrooms and no asparagus, lol. I LOVE IT.

  2. that's fantastic! i'm so glad someone else is actually eating it! we just got into farro. living in CA is so inspiring! but, yes, the asparagus is not so seasonal right now. we just wanted to green it up a little!