Admit it, I am not the only one staring blankly at the refrigerator and pantry 1 hour before dinner praying for inspiration. And then Googling the ingredients for that inspiration. But, I'm not a by the recipe cook. So when I find a recipe that sounds interesting, I just scan through the main ingredients and then go for it. Not a lot of measuring and absolutely no running to the store for extra ingredients. That's against the rules. :) Cooking is one of my few artistic outlets - even though I don't think I am very good at it per se. I just like the Zen of actually doing it. When it's tasty to boot, then everyone is happy. Fortunately, dinner tonight was tasty, so I want to write it here so I don't forget it.
I've had some beautiful farro in the pantry for months now. It's been patiently waiting there as I mulled over whether something from the whole grain wheat family was actually something I should be serving my family right now. Crisp fall mornings and pregnancy cravings have overrun any grain fears for now, but I still proceed with caution, favoring naturally fermented sourdough, gluten free flours, and soaking what isn't soured.
So here's the approximation of what I did for dinner tonight...It turned out yummy! As I don't measure much when I cook, the amounts are estimates. Scan for inspiration and proceed at-will. :)
1 cup soaked farro (overnight with a splash of ACV)
2 quarts lamb stock (beef stock would be great)
1 lb cubed beef (lamb would be great too)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, pureed
3 medium carrots cut into bite sized pieces
few sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
splash of port wine
salt and pepper to taste
handful of chopped kale (optional)
1) Place cut carrots into simmering stock. After a few minutes, add the soaked, drained and rinsed farro to the stock as well.
2) Heat a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed soup pot to medium-high heat and then add cubed beef to brown. Don't stir too much, just let it brown up nicely.
3) When the meat is nicely browned on all sides, add some sea salt (to taste) and the diced onions and minced garlic. Stir to get a saute on the onions and garlic, but keep it from burning. Just a few minutes.
4) Add a splash of port to the pan and then the pureed tomato. Bring to nice bubbly simmer at the same medium-high heat. Let the tomato reduce a little - about 5 minutes.
5) Carefully pour the simmering stock, carrots and farro into the meat mixture. Add spices and let the whole batch come up to bubbly simmer and then turn down heat and place lid. Simmer approx 30 minutes.
6) At the end, check for salt and then toss in the kale a few minutes before removing from heat.
The farro thickens up this stew very nicely and it makes it so hearty and satisfying. Great with a side of sourdough slathered in pastured butter!