Steak and Farro with Golden Beets, Garbanzos and Tarragon

~ Beef Ribeye, Farro, Golden Beets, Spring Onion, Garbanzos, Tarragon ~

There are a few reasons why this recipe is just right for tonight. The first reason is that it’s early summer in San Francisco and it’s freezing. Not literally, but enough to feel obliged to apologize profusely to visitors from out of town. Enough to don fleece outerwear to venture out to the grill, where hands are briskly warmed between flipping the burgers. Or enough to appear like it’s raining when technically it is not, but the mist from the fog is so heavy it soaks the garden furniture and leave puddles on the steps.

Another reason why this meal is just right is this is the first day following a whirlwind celebratory week of graduations, house guests and parties. When lists were made to remember lists. When we had great fun, but didn’t have a moment to reflect on that fun. When we indulged and consumed and quite likely forgot to eat our vegetables. Today we now have the time and space to remember and to reflect – and to also eat a balanced meal.

This recipe corrals the seasons’ best farmers market produce, hearty farro, and a few lone pieces of steak left over in the fridge, in one big warming yet fresh meal brimming with health and good flavor. You can grill the steak or pan fry it, depending on the weather.

steak farro tastefood

Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Garbanzos and Tarragon

Shelled English peas or edamame may be substituted for the garbanzos.
Serves 4.

3 medium golden beets, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch batons or wedges
1 large sweet yellow onion, halved lengthwise, each half thickly sliced in wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups farro
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
2 or 3 rib eye or New York steaks, about 1-inch thick
1/2 cup shelled fresh garbanzos (chick peas)
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
Sriracha (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Toss the beets and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven until beets are tender and onions are beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the farro: Combine the stock, farro and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the farro is tender but still chewy, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin and cayenne. Partially cover to keep warm.
Prepare the steaks: Season the steaks all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add steaks, without overcrowding, and cook until brown on both sides, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare. (or grill over direct high heat, turning once or twice, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Cut steaks crosswise in 1/2 inch thick slices.
While the steaks are resting, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the garbanzos and blanch until bright green but still crisp, about 1 minute.
To serve, spoon the farro into the center of a serving platter or divide among serving plates. Arrange steak in the center of the farro and drizzle with any accumulated juices. Place the vegetables around the steak and drizzle with any accumulated baking juices. Scatter the garbanzos over. Garnish with fresh tarragon. Drizzle with more olive oil. Serve warm with Sriracha sauce on the side.

Roasted Chicken, Asparagus and Beets with Farro and Parsley Coulis

Chicken Farro tastefood~ Chicken, Asparagus, Baby Beets, Farro, Parsley ~

If only we people could get along this well. This meal is the happy convergence of 5 simply prepared ingredients, each stand alone good in their own right, which magically conspire to create a wondrous, healthy and satisfying one dish meal. Sriracha marinated chicken breasts, olive oil roasted asparagus and baby beets nestle in a pile of hearty farro drizzled with a bright parsley coulis. A final squeeze of Sriracha electrifies and unites. Call it one stop shopping or an homage to Spring, this earthy and rustic meal is a vibrant balance of flavor and simplicity on a plate.

chicken farro beets tastefood

Roasted Chicken, Asparagus and Baby Beets with Farro and Parsley Coulis

The good news is that each component may be served on their own, next to each other or in a happy tangle of coexistence. The beets and asparagus may be served at room temperature. The parsley coulis is also delicious as a dip or smeared on crostini.

Serves 4 to 6

Chicken:
2 tablespoons Dijon style mustard
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 6 to 8 ounces each

Beets and Asparagus:
1 pound baby yellow beets, ends trimmed, scrubbed clean
1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
1/2 lemon

Farro:
3 cups chicken stock or water
2 cups farro
1 teaspoon salt

Parsley Coulis:
2 cups Italian flat leaf parsley
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar

Prepare the chicken: Whisk all of the ingredients except the chicken in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Heat oven broiler (or grill). Remove chicken from marinade and arrange in one layer on a broiler pan. Broil until chicken is thoroughly cooked through, turning once or twice, 10 to 14 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove and cut breasts in half.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the beets. Heat oven to 400° F (200C). Place the beets in a baking dish. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Turn to coat. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool slightly, then cut beets in half.

Prepare the asparagus: Heat oven broiler. Arrange the asparagus in one layer in a baking dish. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Broil until asparagus are browned in spots and fork tender, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove from oven. Cool slightly, then cut in 1-inch pieces. Squeeze with juice of 1/2 lemon.

Prepare the farro: Combine farro, stock and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Add more salt to taste if desired.

Prepare the Parsley Coulis: Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until blended. Taste for seasoning. Transfer to a bowl.

To serve, divide farro between serving plates. Top with chicken. Scatter beets and asparagus around the chicken. Drizzle with some of the beet and chicken pan juices. Spoon coulis over chicken. Serve with Sriracha.

Kale and Farro Soup

kale squash farro tastefoodxx

 ~ Kale and Farro Soup ~

I don’t usually make New Years resolutions, but if I did, it would be to get my kids to eat more kale. Do you think they’ll notice the kale in this stew?

January is not only bowl-month in our home, it’s kale month. Bowls of nourishing soups and stews are perfect for the cold weather and a comforting alternative to the highfalutin presentations of Christmas past. And kale is everywhere right now, flamboyantly in season touting deeply colored emphatically shaped leaves, towering in piles on market shelves and tables. Good timing is all I have to say. Kale is a superfood, packed with nutrients and anti-oxidants, and an excellent way to jump start the new year in good health. And why hold back with just one nutritious ingredient? Kale teams up with farro, a nutty ancient grain packed with protein and fiber and chunks of  vitamin-rich butternut squash in this healthy, hearty soup.

Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

Either curly green or lacinato kale may be used for the soup. Remove tough ribs from leaves before chopping.

Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup semi-pearled farro (or barley)
6 cups chicken stock, plus additional stock as necessary
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 (15-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1 (2-inch) chunk of rind of Parmesan cheese
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups coarsely chopped green kale leaves
Finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the farro and stir to coat.
2. Add the chicken stock, squash, tomatoes, cheese chunk, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the squash is tender and farro is cooked, about 30 minutes. (Add more stock to desired consistency if soup is too thick.) Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
3. Stir in the kale leaves and simmer until the kale brightens in color and wilts, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind and the bay leaf. Ladle the soup into bowls and pass the cheese for sprinkling over the soup.

Farro Pilaf

Farro Pilaf

When I was young one of my favorite side dishes was rice pilaf. It came in a slim box with a portion of rice and a sachet of spices, dehydrated chicken stock – and goodness knows what else – all set to prepare with water on the stovetop. The results were addictive and exotically flavored. My brothers and I would fight over who got to finish the bowl on the dinner table; one box was never enough.

These days I make pilaf from scratch – and you probably do, too, without realizing it. The principle behind pilaf is that rice, or another grain such as bulgur, is sautéed then steamed in a flavorful broth, along with a few aromatics such as onion, garlic and spices. When it’s ready to serve, the rice is fluffed to separate the grains, and fresh herbs may be added for flavor and adornment. So before you reach for a box of pilaf in the supermarket with a long list of ingredients, remember that it’s really quite easy – and much cheaper – to make your own from scratch.

Farro Pilaf

This recipe replaces rice with farro, and includes toasted almonds, lemon, mint and parsley. It makes a hefty pilaf, which is nutty, fresh and packed with protein and nutrients. Depending on how salty your stock is, adjust the amount of salt to taste. Serves 6 as a side dish.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups farro
2 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds (or pinenuts)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until shallot begins to soften, 2 minutes. Add farro and stir to coat the grains. Carefully add the stock (it will bubbly vigorously), salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the farro is tender but chewy and liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.  Transfer farro to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, almonds and lemon zest and stir to combine. Cool slightly. Before serving mix in parsley and mint. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you like this, you might enjoy these recipes from TasteFood:
Chicken and Farro Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms
Quinoa Tabbouleh
Fregola Sarda with Asparagus and Lemon

Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Onions and Chickpeas

Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Onions and Chickpeas

~ Beef Ribeye, Farro, Golden Beets, Spring Onion, Chickpeas, Tarragon ~

It’s safe to say that everything I bought today at the market ended up in this dish. Sweet onions, golden beets and fresh chickpeas vied for my attention this morning at the farmers’ market, so I did what any sensible person would do. I bought all of them. Moving on to the local ranch’s stall displaying their glistening meat, I  continued my spree and snagged 2 seriously soft and richly marbled rib eye steaks, each weighing in at nearly 1 pound each. I wasn’t sure exactly how I would put our dinner together, but I knew it would be magnificent with these fresh and earthy ingredients.

Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Onions and Chickpeas
Serves 4

3 medium golden beets, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch batons or wedges
1 large sweet yellow onion, halved lengthwise, each half thickly sliced in wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups farro
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
2 or 3 rib eye steaks, about 1 inch thick
1/2 cup shelled fresh chick peas
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
Sriracha (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F/190 C. Toss the beets and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven until beets are tender and onions are beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the farro: Combine the stock, farro and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the farro is tender but still chewy, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil,  garlic, paprika, cumin and cayenne. Partially cover to keep warm.
Prepare the steaks: Season the steaks all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add steaks, without overcrowding, and cook until brown on both sides, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Cut steaks crosswise in 1/2 inch thick slices.
While the steaks are resting, add the fresh chickpeas to the skillet and briefly saute over medium heat until their color brightens, 1 to 2 minutes.
To serve, spoon the farro into the center of a serving platter or divide among serving plates. Arrange steak in the center of the farro and drizzle with any accumulated juices. Place the vegetables around the steak and drizzle with any accumulated baking juices. Scatter the chickpeas over. Garnish with fresh tarragon. If desired drizzle with more olive oil. Serve warm with Sriracha sauce on the side.

Chicken and Farro Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms

Chicken and Farro Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms

Simple Sunday dinner:
Chicken and Farro Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms

Following a busy, social weekend with big meals and late evenings, Sunday is nicely relaxed and peaceful with no reservations, no make-up and no agenda. Dinner will reflect simplicity and balance with fresh and light ingredients and minimal fuss. It’s a perfect moment for this restorative chicken soup, using leftover meat and homemade stock from last week’s roast. Carrots, shiitakes, and fresh snipped parsley from our terrace pots brighten and flavor the soup, while farro adds a little nutritional heft to this easy one-dish meal.

Chicken and Farro Soup with Carrots and Shiitakes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, halved if large
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup farro
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cooked chicken breasts, 12 to 16 ounces, shredded in large pieces
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until it softens without coloring, 2 minutes. Add carrots and mushrooms. Sauté until carrots brighten in color and mushrooms begin to release their juices, 2 to 3  minutes. Add stock, farro, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer until farro is tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in chicken and top off with additional stock if needed. Taste for seasoning. Simmer until chicken is heated through. Ladle into bowls. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.

Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

~ Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup with Parmigiano ~

Autumn in a bowl sums up this nourishing soup. Sweet butternut squash and sturdy kale team up with farro, an ancient Italian wheat grain, known as spelt in English. Farro is a hulled wheat, which means it retains its husk during harvest. The husk serves as a protective cloak, preserving nutrients and protecting the kernel from insects and pollutants, which permits the grower to avoid pesticides. Rich in protein, fiber and B vitamins, farro has a satisfying nutty flavor which adds heft with health to soups and stews. The final touch in this warming soup is a chunk of Parmesan cheese, which is nestled into the simmering stock, breaking down and releasing umami flavor while thickening the soup.

Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

Either curly green or lacinato kale may be used for the soup. Remove tough ribs from leaves before chopping.

Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup semi-pearled farro
6 cups chicken stock, plus additional stock as necessary
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 (15-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1 (2-inch) chunk of rind of Parmesan cheese
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups coarsely chopped green kale leaves
Finely grated Parmesan cheese for garnsih

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the farro and stir to coat.
2. Add the chicken stock, squash, tomatoes, cheese chunk, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the squash is tender and farro is cooked, about 30 minutes. (Add more stock to desired consistency if soup is too thick.) Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
3. Stir in the kale leaves and simmer until the kale brightens in color and wilts, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind and the bay leaf. Ladle the soup into bowls and pass the cheese for sprinkling over the soup.