RECIPE: 2 recipes from 1, Slow Cooker Provencal Beef Stew with Farro Pilaf, Farro Mushroom Risotto
In the fall, we were at an Italian restaurant where I tried a Seafood Risotto made with farro. Farro is as whole grain as you can get. It is the whole wheat berry in it's entirety, also called The Pharaoh's Wheat or Emmer Wheat. You can cook it like rice for a risotto, or cook it like a hot cereal, or serve it like a pilaf. Because it is the whole berry, the protein and nutrients stays in tact. It is very healthy and full of fiber. Farro comes from many areas. I was able to find it in them Middle Eastern section of my market. But I have read that there is a wonderful Farro that comes from Italy, grown in the way the Romans grew it. It is said to be more tender and takes less time to cook.
We decided to experiment with it, and we were quite pleased at our results. We decided to actually get two meals out of our efforts. The farro takes a long time to cook, so we cooked the whole bag on a Sunday and used the left overs the next night in a delicious risotto. Most of the work was done on Sunday, so it was quick to use for a Monday night meal. Being an Urban Domestic Diva is all about efficiency, right!?
Slow Cooker Provencal Beef Stew
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. salt pork, diced
2 lb. chuck pot roast steak, trimmed and cut up in chunks (see post http://www.urbandomesticdiva.com/2010/02/cooking-which-beef-cuts-are-good-for.html if you wish to substitute.)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tsp. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 cup fruity red wine
2/3 cup beef broth
Bouquet Garni made from 1/2 cup parsley sprigs, 3 bay leaves, 1 1/2 tsp dry thyme leaves, 8 peppercorns
1 small onion studded with 3 whole cloves
Grated zest of 1/2 an orange
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Farro Pilaf (recipe follows)
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the salt pork over medium heat until nicely browned. Use a slotted spoon, transfer the salt pork into the slow cooker. Switch the cooker on high for the time being. Working in batches, brown the beef in the pork fat until nicely browned on all sides. Continue cooking all the beef and transferring the beef into the cooker, adding more oil if needed.
Mix the beef stock and red wine in a cup and pour over the beef in the slow cooker. Add the bouquet garni, nestling it deep in the beef. Meanwhile, in the pan, cook the onions and garlic until tender, then add the carrots, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, cooking gently until they begin to release juices. Pour all the vegetables, scraping the pan as you go, into the slow cooker. Turn the cooker to low, and add the clove studded onion to the slow cooker, nestling that down as well. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 hours on low, stirring every once in a while.
Before serving, take out the clove onion and bouquet garni. Mix in the grated orange and parsley. Serve with the farro pilaf.
1 bag (1 lb.) of whole wheat berries (also called Farro or Emmer Wheat)
3 1/2 cups broth (I mixed beef and chicken evenly, you could do water or vegetable)
2 Tbsp. infused olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
In a large sauce pan, heat up your liquid and oil until boiling. Add the wheat and stir.
Lower your heat and cover. Cook gently, stirring every once in a while for 2 1/2 hours. Check it every once in a while to add more liquid or if the grain is tender.
For the pilaf, you want it tender but firm. It should have a little bit of chewiness to it, similar to brown rice but a little firmer that that. Depending on where the wheat berries come from, the cooking time may be longer or shorter. So let the stove do the work and check it every 30 minutes to either turn it off or add more liquid.
When done, add butter. Toss and serve with a stew or main entree.
Chicken Porcini Farro Risotto
4 cups precooked farro
1 large chicken breasts, 1/2 inch pieces
1 med. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. white truffle oil (optional)
1 oz. dried porcini, rehydrated in 1 1/2 cups hot water
1/4 cup dried sherry
1 cup peas
1/2 -3/4 cup grated Parmesan
Drain porcinis, reserve liquid. Roughly chop porcinis and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil and white truffle oil. Cook garlic and chicken over medium heat until starting to brown (4-5 minutes). Add onion, cook until translucent. Add dry sherry then porcini and cook 1 minute. Add the wheat berries, peas and porcini liquid and heat 2-4 minutes, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Add Parmesan and cook 1-2 minutes more. Serve with extra Parmesan.