February 19

Seafood & Pig Farro(tto)

Farro. What is it? What does it taste like? How is it actually pronounced?

It’s a wheat species grain primarily harvested in the ancient world, but can be found throughout other mountainous regions of Asia and Europe.

Its taste is hard to describe. The bulk bin I bought it out of had a little sign boasting it to be a nutty, almost sweet flavor. I got the nutty; didn’t quite find the sweet.

You got me on the pronunciation.

Farro is one of those food items that is starting to make its rounds on the internet and they all sound divine. A lot of dishes require the use of a cast iron skillet, and with a glass top stove, that’s not gonna happen. Plan B. Farro made like risotto. Aptly named, farrotto. Not as nice sounding as risotto, but hey, I’m easy. If it tastes good, I’m sold.

I guess because I read that it could be prepared like risotto, I expected the same creamy consistency that arborio rice brings to the table when absorbing copious amounts of chicken stock. I was greatly disappointed in the revelation that this would not happen, however, I do believe I’ve found our new favorite dish. What I threw together ended up being a perfect combination of flavors, textures, and smells. It’s simple, a little time consuming (but nothing overboard), and honestly, not so unhealthy either. The Fellow™ often asks for farro for dinner now. Score!

As a note, I also covered this in little triangles of cucumbers after I took my photographs, and let me say, IT WAS DELICIOUS. If you like cucumber, definitely add it to this. Just add it raw over the top when you’ve served it up.

Seafood & Pig Farro(tto)

Ingredients

3 pieces bacon
8-12 pieces shrimp, thawed, de-veined and de-tailed
1 cup farro
16 ounces Swanson’s reduced sodium chicken broth
12 ounces water
1/4 cup green bell peppers, diced
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
red pepper flakes
pepper
garlic
1/2 cucumber, diced (optional)

Directions

1) Fry up the bacon however you want. I prefer oven bacon, since the clean up is easy and I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the oil spatters on the stove top. Crumble bacon once to desired crispness.

2) In a deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high, and add onions to saute. Cook until translucent and tender. Add farro to the skillet, pushing the grains around until they are sufficiently covered in the remaining olive oil in the pain. Let them sit, occasionally stirring, for about 5 minutes.

3) Add one cup chicken broth and 4 ounces of water to the skillet. Stirring occasionally, let the liquid and farro cook together until the broth/water absorbs. Add 1/2 cup broth and 4 ounces of water again, repeating the stirring until the liquid has absorbed. One more time, add the remainder of the broth (should be just about 1/2 cup) and the last 4 ounces of water, and let it absorb.

4) While the farro is absorbing the liquids, in a smaller skillet, heat the lemon juice and a little drizzle of water. Add whole or chopped up pieces of shrimp to the pan and season with red pepper flakes (to taste), pepper, and garlic (fresh or powdered). Cook down the base until all that is left is the shrimp. Remove from the heat and set aside.

5) When there is minimal amounts of broth/water left in the farro skillet, add the pieces of shrimp, the bell peppers, and crumbled bacon, and stir to evenly distribute throughout. Heat a little longer and dish up. Toss a handful of cucumbers on top, if desired.

What you will end up with will be a slightly crunchy, slightly tender grain (it sort of feels like chewing on very al dente rice or pasta), that soaks up a lot of flavor. A very different food, but delightful nonetheless.

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