Emmer, which also masquerades under the name farro, is an historic whole grain which can make a hearty side or meal. I first came across it when we watched the Good Food documentary. I then had it in a delicious risotto at a dinner party and have finally gotten my hands on a bag from Bluebird Grain Farms. (It only took a trip to PCC, but hey, that took some effort.) Tired of eating veggies we stored in the freezer, we were hungry for something fresh and took a field trip to the U-district farmer’s market last weekend. We scored more carrots than two humans need, lots of irresistible cheese, many beautiful and sundry greens, and some lovely dried beans. Tonight, I added the beans and the farro together to make a vegetarian (read: let’s not eat any more pork tonight, dear) meal.
There are many recipes for emmer risotto/pilaf out there, including the ones on Bluebird’s website. I either didn’t have the ingredients or patience for the recipes that I found, so I just made one up, combining the basic cooking instructions on the back of the bag with the other recipes that I had read. What resulted was a simple and yummy bowl of comfort food.
1 cup beautiful dried beans (mine were cranberry)
1 cup whole grain emmer
2 tbls. olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1/3 cup white wine
6 cups stock (I used turkey since we seem to have an overabundance of it; veggie or chicken would probably work just fine)
3 sprigs thyme (or other herb on hand)
2 tbls. cream (optional and decadent)
- Put beans on to soak early in the day. Cover completely with cool water for at least 6 hours. (To quick soak the beans, cover with water and boil for about 3 minutes. Take off the heat. Cover with lid and let sit for 1 hour.)
- Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. Saute over medium- low with the olive oil.
- After about 5 minutes, add emmer and toast for about 3 minutes. Stir in the wine.
- When the wine is absorbed, add the stock. Stir in beans. Cover and cook on low for about an hour and fifteen minutes.
- Drain off the liquid. (Everyone seems to think that if you reserve this it will be good in a soup or used as stock.) Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in the cream, if using. Dive in.