I whipped up this simple, savory mushroom farro last weekend and immediately got to using it in my lunch bowls early this week. I had every intention of sharing it right away, until a winter storm and an aggressive head cold swooped in and have kept me glued to my sofa for the last couple days. I’m still feeling flattened by the cold, but I’m mighty grateful for weekend batch cooking and a fridge full of soup and grains to keep me fed.
Farro is one of my favorite grains, thanks to its toothsome and chewy texture. I use it in wintery salads often because it’s hefty enough to hold its own with lots of roasted veggies and other ingredients, but I also love it in grain bowls or even as porridge, warmed up with soy milk and dried fruit in the morning.
Until now, I hadn’t really tried farro in the form of a pilaf or a stand alone grain meal. I figured its earthy, nutty flavor would pair well with mushrooms, and I added extra flavor to the dish with shallots, garlic, white wine (optional), and fresh thyme. This is a perfect, hearty grain dish for winter months. If you stir in some chickpeas (which I did—I had exactly a cup of them in my fridge and figured why not?), you can pair it with some roasted vegetables (see the below) for a simple meal. If you don’t add legumes, it’s a little lighter, and you can use it as a simple side dish with a vegan protein and salad or other veggies.
The meal comes together quickly if you cook the farro while you sauté the vegetables. By the time the vegetables are tender, you can simply stir the warm, cooked grain into the pan, season it to taste, and serve it up. I always get pearled farro, which cooks in about 20-25 minutes; hulled farro can take longer, but check your package instructions for the correct cooking time before you get started, just to be sure.
- 1 cup farro dry
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced shallot about 3-4 large shallots
- 2 cloves very thinly sliced garlic
- 1 lb cleaned and chopped mushrooms of choice I used sliced button mushrooms, but shiitake, chopped portobello, and chanterelles would all be great
- Salt and freshly ground pepper as needed
- 1/2 cup white wine optional
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1-2 teaspoons sherry or white wine vinegar to taste
- Optional: 1 cup cooked legumes such as chickpeas, white beans, or adzuki beans
Cook the farro according to package instructions.
While the farro is simmering, add the olive oil to a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the shallots are soft. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the mushrooms to the pan and give them a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-8 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their juices and are soft, tender, and reduced in size. Add the white wine to the skillet, if using, and continue cooking until the wine has almost completely cooked down (a couple minutes). Stir in the thyme.
When the farro is ready, add it to the skillet and stir everything well to combine. Add vinegar and additional salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the beans, if using. Heat everything through, then serve.
Roasted Brussels sprouts have been a very nice addition to the meal, but cauliflower, green beans, sautéed kale or chard, and any number of other winter veggies would complete it nicely.
I’m trying to think of other things to say about the dish, but my stuffed up head is operating at partial capacity, and anyway, what more really needs saying about a tasty, savory, go-to whole grain? I hope you enjoy this one, friends. I hope you’re staying warm and safe wherever you are, but especially if you live in the Northeastern US. And I’ll see you soon for weekend reading.