A recipe from Bluebird Grain Farm’s January newsletter inspired me yesterday and I just had to try this. It’s a winter salad featuring apples (which happen to be another great power food) along with Bluebird Grain Farm’s farro which is “sown, grown, harvested, cured and milled to order” by Sam and Brooke Lucy in the Methow Valley. If you don’t know about this family operated farm, grainary, and mill, I strongly encourage you to check them out. I’ve known Brooke for over a decade and I continue to marvel at what she and her husband have accomplished. Running a successful organic farm is no easy task!!
This recipe also features one of the real ugly duckings of the vegetable world – celery root (a.k.a. celeriac). Celery root was first cultivated in the Mediterranean and has been popular in Europe for hundreds of years where it is pureed, mashed, roasted and eaten fresh. Sadly, it’s never made it to prime-time in the U.S., possibly because it just isn’t good looking enough. But don’t let appearances fool you… this humble vegetable has a lot going for it – on the inside. (Remember kids – it’s what’s on the inside that counts).
If your grocery store actually carries celery root, it will most likely be hanging out near the other under-appreciated winter roots – parsnips, turnips and rutabagas. (And, I can almost guarantee the check-out clerk will have to look up the item code.) Pick one that is smallish and firm. If you can’t find celery root, you can substitute it’s pretty cousin, the ubiquitous celery stalk, in this recipe.
If you don’t have Farro, you can order it from Bluebird Grain Farms, or try substituting brown rice. Or, serve this chicken salad on a bed of lettuce or on your favorite bread.
Chicken, Celery Root & Apple Salad with Farro
Adapted from Bluebird Grain Farms Newsletter
serves 4 – 6
1 cup Bluebird Grain Farm’s Emmer Farro
3 cups chicken stock
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
1 large apple
1 small celery root (3/4 cup sliced)
4 slices bacon
1 cup light sour cream
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. maple syrup or agave nectar
1 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
Cook the farro. Place the farro in a medium sized pot with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes or so until the farro is tender (even when fully cooked, it will still be a little chewy). Drain the farro and set aside.
Meanwhile, poach the chicken breast. Place the chicken in a pot with a tight fitting lid. Add water to the pot to completely cover the chicken, add 1 tsp. of salt and bring the water to a simmer. Continue to simmer, on low heat, for approximately 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through but still moist. Remove the chicken from the water and let cool.
Cook the bacon. Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook in a pan until crispy. Remove to a paper towel to drain and cool.
Prepare the salad. Place the lemon juice and zest in a medium sized mixing bowl. Cut the rough, outside skin from the celery root with a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler and cut peeled celery root into match sized sticks to make 3/4 cup. (Save the rest for another use). Peel and core the apple and cut into match sized sticks. Toss celery root and apples with zest and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Finely slice the chicken and add it to the bowl along with the chopped parsley and cooked bacon. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, and maple syrup, then toss with the chicken mixture.
To serve, place a small amount of farro on each plate and top with the chicken salad. Garnish with more fresh parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.