Monday, April 1, 2013

Turkey'd Farro

I bought a couple turkeys when they were on sale last Thanksgiving and cut them up and froze them so I could make smaller turkey dinners throughout the year.

I love cheap eats, and  I particularly like turkey breast smoked and/or grilled, which is more likely to happen in summer rather than in winter. So when turkey is cheap, I buy extra so I don't have to pay a fortune for turkey breast in August.

The thighs, though, I like to use for slow cooking, so that's what was on the menu today. I simply browned in in my slow cooker, added water to about halfway up the side of the meat, and ignored it for a couple hours, until it was tender.

One turkey thigh is plenty for two, particularly when there's a hearty side dish like the farro I made to go with  it. I've been on a food-shopping hiatus for a while, so  my selection of fresh vegetables and herbs was a little sparse. But that's okay. That's why I've got those dried herbs and frozen vegetables, anyway.

I cooked the farro in the stock that I got from cooking the turkey thigh. It wasn't the most flavorful stock on the planet - I mean, it was just one thigh. But it was much better than cooking the farro in plain old water. And then I added the flavorings that I might put into a stuffing.

The farro made a great side dish and then I had some for lunch the next day, topped with a fried egg.

As for the turkey, I just sliced it up. The farro was what it was all about.

Turkey'd Farro

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cup farro
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon ground dry mushrooms
2 tablespoons dry celery flakes
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
3 cups turkey stock
Salt, to taste
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan or similar vessel (I actually did this in my slow cooker.) Cook the onion, stirring as needed, until it softens.

Add the farro, poultry seasoning, mushrooms (I get this from a local mushroom farm; substitute with whatever you have, or omit), celery flakes, dry parsley, rubbed sage (yes you can sub fresh for any or all of it, if you prefer).

Cook a bit, stirring, to warm up those spices.

Whether you need to add salt or not is going to depend on your spices and your turkey stock. Some brands of poultry seasoning include salt. Some don't. The turkey stock could be salty. Or not. Use your tastebuds and your judgement. It's easier to add salt later, though, so don't oversalt at the beginning.

Add the turkey stock, cover the pan, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the farro is tender, about 40 minutes.

Check it during cooking to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom and burn, and to make sure you've got enough water for it to cook through. It should have a bit of chew to it, but it shouldn't be crunchy. Taste for seasoning and add more seasonings or salt, as desired.

Add the frozen vegetables, stir to combine, and cook for another minute or two, or as long as it takes the vegetables to cook to your liking. Add more water if needed.

Serve hot.

About the farro

The farro I used was provided to me by Tuscan Fields which is sponsoring one scholarship to Eat Write Retreat. The details of the contest is here, but it's already closed to new entries.

I've had farro before, but I've got to say that I'm glad it's becoming more available. The first time I bought it, the only way to get it was to order online. Then I found it in a pricey specialty market.

Tuscan Fields farro is sold in some Whole Foods stores, and I expect it will become more readily available as time goes on.

I used a plain farro for this recipe, but the company also sells one with mushrooms (which I received but haven't tried yet) and a few other varieties.

Have you tried farro yet? What do you think?