FOOD LOVE: Farro w/ Chickpeas, Currants & Leeks
It's amazing how in the 5 years of blogging, I have learned to love quinoa, farro, kale, beets and everything else that's been around for hundreds of years.
If you've never tried it, how do you know if you like it or not?
Kale. Swiss Chard.
I did not grow up with fresh vegetables, or a garden, so Path-Mark frozen was my source for green, and oh yeah, iceberg lettuce.
Who knew about wonderful chard, kale and Romaine? Not me.
Pfeiffer Caesar Salad Dressing was actually yummy (anybody remember that?), with bits of Parmesan cheese in the bottle.
That is the only salad dressing I knew existed.
A thousand year old grain eaten by the Incas..................now we eat it weekly.
They came in a jar (my mother did not buy canned anything for fear of botulism).
That came in a box. Lipton Noodle with a powder packet. (again, my mother did not buy anything in a can).
We never had any (cause my mother didn't buy canned foods..............), and I didn't know fresh cranberries existed, though my state is one of the largest producers.
Are you still with me?
I made a farro cauliflower dish years ago and posted it, but no one seemed to care, though it was fabulous, if I remember correctly.
I recently had a beef cheek stew on farro from Piedmont, made by my friend Dan, and it was so comforting and delicious, I knew I had to rediscover farro again.
Farro is a whole wheat grain that looks like barley (and Sugar Smacks cereal), and is popular in Tuscany and Abruzzo, instead of rice.
It is nutty tasting and it's wonderful.
Remember that amazing Farro Chestnut Soup that Linda posted from the Abruzzo dinner?
I ordered my Farro online from Umbria, and have a case of it, so if you need some, let me know.
I found this great sounding main course salad in the New York Times, so I put farro to the test once again.
This was wonderful, healthy and hearty enough for a winter dinner (and it's still very much winter here).
Farro w/ Ceci, Currants & Leeks (adapted from the New York Times): serves 8
4 large leeks, halved lengthwise, cleaned and sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup plus more, extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups dry farro
2/3 cup dried currants
1/2 cup chopped celery leaves and tender stems (I used fresh parsley instead)
Heat oven to 400F degrees.
Using a large rimmed baking sheet, toss leeks with some olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Spread leeks out in a single layer and roast, tossing frequently, until golden brown and crisp at the edges, about 15-20 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss leeks with chickpeas, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 1/4 teaspoons sea or kosher salt, chile flakes and garlic. Stir in 1/4 cup oil. Let marinate while you prepare the farro.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook farro until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Toss with chickpea mixture. Stir in currants and celery leaf (or parsley).
Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm or at room temperature.
We love farro. It's here to stay.