Last week, I decided that I needed a new side dish to update the same old brisket and gefilte fish on Passover. My mother used to serve farfel, a small egg noodle, but I wanted something a little more modern. Digging in my pantry, I found farro, one of my favorite grains. Farro is an Italian grain composed of three different hulled wheats (spelt, emmer, and einkorn) that is known for its nutty flavor, and has become very popular recently.
In addition, I also found some porcini powder. If you haven’t used porcini powder before, this is the perfect recipe to try it out! Not only does it add an earthy tone to a dish, but gives it that sought-after umami taste.
For the purpose of this recipe I kept vegan, using vegetable stock, and an array of vegetables that I found in my crisper. The result? A deliciously-vegan side dish that made for wonderfully warm leftovers on the cold nights that NYC has returned to us this week. Though, if you’re not vegan, chicken stock is also lovely in this dish. I used mushrooms to compliment the powder I used, and baby kale to give the dish a slight sweetness. The surprise ingredient was dried cherries. The tart sugar of the cherries gave a bright flavor and gorgeous color to the dish.
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Warm Farro Salad Recipe
1 cup farro
3 cups vegetable stock (or water)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 shallots, finely diced
5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cup mushrooms, quartered
4 cups baby kale (or any green of your choosing)
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 tsp porcini powder (optional)
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
Rinse farro under cold water. In a medium stock pot, combine farro, stock (or water), and salt and pepper. Cook on medium high heat until liquid starts to boil. Return heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding porcini powder in the last 10 minutes.
While the farro is cooking, sauté shallots in a large sauté pan in 2 Tbsp of olive oil until tender, about 1 minute. Then add mushrooms and cook until they are browned and tender, about 3-5 minutes. Salt and pepper, to taste.
Remove mushrooms onto a plate, add 2 more Tbsp of olive oil to the pan, heat to smoking point and gently flash crisp baby kale in 4 batches of about 20 seconds each, removing each portion to the mushroom plate when done. Do not overcook the kale! Set pan aside.
When farro is done, drain any excess liquid and set in a large bowl. Toss with mushrooms, green onions, cranberries, and baby kale. Salt and pepper, to taste.
When serving, top each portion with parsley. This dish can be served warm or at room temperature, and can be made one day in advance, and reheated on the stove.
My guests loved this dish at Passover, though this is a great recipe for any time of the year. I hope your Passover was as much of a success as mine!