Wednesday, September 18

Ancient Grains

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Before the world enjoyed our amber waves of grain, earlier civilizations cultivated many types of grains that are now being rediscovered. Adding variety and nutrition to modern meals, grains like freekeh and farro are now readily available. You don’t have to go to King Tut’s tomb to find them. Everything you need for these recipes is as close as your neighborhood supermarket.

Lemon Farro with Grilled Radicchio

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
  • 2½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 head radicchio, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅓ cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the grill to high. Meanwhile, combine the stock and farro in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes.
  2. Brush the cut sides of radicchio with canola oil and sprinkle evenly with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Place on the hot grill for 1 to 2 minutes to char. Turn and char the other cut side, watching carefully for 1 minute. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly before slicing crosswise.
  3. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining salt, olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper. Shake well to emulsify. Drain the farro and toss with the dressing and almonds. Add the radicchio and garnish with the feta. Serve immediately.

Make-Ahead Farro Vegetable Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
  1. 2½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¾ cup chopped carrots
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions:
  1. Combine the stock, farro and ½ teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together the carrots, bell peppers, green onions, chives and parsley in a serving bowl and set aside. Place the canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the sweet onions and garlic and saute 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper. Set aside. Drain the farro and add to the serving bowl. Toss well and drizzle with the vinegar mixture. Mix well and set aside for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Note: You can make this salad ahead of time and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.

Freekeh and Dried Cherry Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients:
  • 3¼ cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1½ cups freekeh
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups arugula
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped basil
  • ½ cup chopped pistachios
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions:
  1. Place the stock in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in the freekeh and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Let sit at room temperature while preparing the remainder of the salad.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the onions and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, stir together the cherries and champagne or vinegar. Set aside.
  3. When the onions are a deep amber color, uncover the freekeh and fluff with a spoon. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the cherries and vinegar as well as arugula, parsley, basil, pistachios, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the remaining olive oil and the onions, stirring well and serve.

Freekeh and Chickpea Salad

Yield: 4–6 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup freekeh
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lightly toasted cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Place the freekeh in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and the salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 22 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and place a clean kitchen towel over the uncovered pot. Replace the lid and let sit 10 minutes, then uncover and let cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the parsley, celery, onions and chickpeas.
  2. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the lemon juice, cumin seeds, garlic and oil. Cover, then shake to emulsify. Stir the freekeh into the vegetable mixture, then add the dressing and toss. Let rest 15 minutes, then toss again and serve.

Farro Minestrone

Yield: 5 servings
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup farro
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
Instructions:
  1. Place the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook 4 minutes and add the farro, stock, bay leaf and remaining salt. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer 15 minutes uncovered.
  2. Add the tomatoes and beans and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the basil and lemon juice. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Butternut and Farro Stew

Yield: 5 servings
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 butternut squash, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • Fresh chives for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Place the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the squash, onions, half of the salt and half of the pepper. Cook 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and paprika and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, chicken stock and farro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the kale and allow to wilt for 5 minutes. Ladle into warm serving bowls and garnish with chives.
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About Author

Tammy Algood

Tammy Algood develops for The Tennessee Magazine recipes that feature farm-fresh Tennessee food. Those fresh, local ingredients will always add cleaner, more flavorful foods to your table. We recommend visiting local farms and farmers markets to find the freshest seasonal produce. For more information about our recipes, contact Algood at talgood@tnelectric.org.

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