This hearty and healthy winter meal really shows off
the bounty of the Northwest, even in cold winter months. We love
farro, also known as emmer, and its earthy, nutty taste. We get ours
from Bluebird Grain Farms (www.bluebirdgrainfarms.com),
an organic farm in Winthrop, Washington. If you live in Seattle, you
can find them most Saturdays at the U District Farmers Market or in
the bulk bins at Madison Market. Farro can also be found in most
specialty food stores or in the Italian section of the grocery
store. Most of the items in this dish can be prepared ahead of time
and assembled at the last minute.
1-1/2 cup farro
3-4-1/2 cups mushroom stock + 1/4 cup mushroom stock
2 heads fennel
6 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
8 ounces wild mushrooms cut into medium pieces
(we like to use black trumpets, porcini, chanterelles and
2 bunches kale (we like to use a mix of a few varieties)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced shallots
1 cup sherry
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 ounces Manchego (use something sharp if you don't have Manchego)
1/4 cup lemon garlic vinaigrette
2 ounces huckleberries reduced in 1 cup hard cider (we use Rockridge
which can be found at the U District or Ballard Farmers
Markets, but any
sweet hard cider will work)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 cups water
Place farro in a stock pot and cover with 1-1/2
cups mushroom stock, bringing it to a boil on medium heat. Cook at a
boil for 15 minutes. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for 50
minutes or until tender, adding more stock if needed. Once done, set
aside to cool.
Cut the tops off the fennel and cut into thick
slices. In a large pan, sear the fennel bulb slices on each side.
Once brown on both sides, let cool, then dice into medium pieces.
Place balsamic on the stove in a thick-bottomed
pan on low heat and reduce for 15 minutes until thick.
Take the kale and chiffonade the leaves into
Place the hard cider Place the hard cider and huckleberries in a
thick-bottomed pan and reduce for 15 minutes.
Saute mushrooms in half the butter in a large
saute pan. When the mushrooms develop color, add shallots, garlic,
rosemary, and fennel. When garlic becomes aromatic, deglaze with the
sherry. When sherry has reduced by half, add the farro, 1/4 cup
stock and the rest of the butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While sauteing, bring 4 cups of water to a
boil. Drop the kale into the boiling water for 30 seconds, making
sure that it is still bright green. Strain the kale and toss it in a
bowl with the lemon garlic vinaigrette.
Place the kale on the bottom of the platter or
individual plates, creating a hole in the center. Place the farro in
the center of the hole and ladle the huckleberries and juice around
the edge of the plate. Do another swirl of the balsamic reduction
around the plate and garnish the top of the farro with a slice of
Manchego so that it will melt into the farro as you bring it to the