If you’ve been reading A Passionate Plate for a while, you know how much I love Bluebird Grains Farm, and their locally grown products like organic emmer farro. Farro is an ancient grain originally grown in the Mediterranean. It has many similarities to modern-day wheat, but it is much lower in gluten and very high in protein. Farro has a nutty flavor and a nice, chewy consistency.
Every month, Bluebird sends out a newsletter with a featured recipe and this month they were nice enough to ask me if I would create something for them… which I was thrilled to do!
With Thanksgiving coming up, I decided to create a farro pilaf that could also be used as a dressing for turkey or a roast chicken.
I am so pleased with this recipe! The flavors of kale, swiss chard, garlic, pine nuts and smokey bacon mingle beautifully with the sweetness of golden raisins and apples. Parmesan cheese holds it all together and fresh lemon zest makes all the flavors pop.
This is a big recipe – I wanted to make enough to serve a crowd at Thanksgiving. If you are not cooking for 10 or 12 people, you may wish to cut this recipe in half.
If you live in Seattle, look for Bluebird Grains Farm farro at PCC, Whole Foods, and Metropolitan Market. You can also order it online. And, if you would like to sign up for Bluebird Grains Farm’s monthly newsletter, you can do that here.
- 2 cups farro
- 10 cups chicken stock
- 2 bunches swiss chard
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 2 bunches kale
- 1 tsp. salt
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tsp. dry rosemary
- ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
- zest from 2 large lemons
- COOK THE FARRO:
- Place the farro and 8 cups of chicken stock in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes. The farro will be cooked through, but still slightly chewy. Drain the farro and set aside.
- DO AHEAD TIP: The farro can be prepared up to three days in advance. Refrigerate until needed.
- PREPARE THE GREENS:
- Wash the swiss chard and kale, strip the leaves from the stems. Chop coarsly and set aside. Discard the kale stems. Chop the swiss chard stems and set aside.
- In a large dutch oven or pot with a lid, heat ¼ cup of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add the greens, along with 2 cups of chicken stock and 1 tsp. salt.
- Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the greens are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
- DO AHEAD TIP: The greens can be prepared up to two days in advance. Refrigerate until needed.
- PREPARE THE DRESSING:
- In a large sauté pan, cook the bacon until it is cooked, but not crisp.Do not drain. Add the onion, rosemary, and black pepper. Cook until the onions are limp, about 2 minutes. Stir in the apple, raisins and pine nuts, then remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the farro, greens, onion mixture, parmesan cheese, and lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- I recommend cooking the dressing separately in a covered casserole dish at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. If you prefer, gently spoon the stuffing into the cavity of a turkey or chicken and cook until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 165 degrees. (Don't over-stuff... cook extra in a casserole dish and serve on the side).