Monday, October 29, 2012

Autumn Love

I love fall.

Crisp weather, beautiful leaves, and everything smells like corduroy and fireplace smoke.  It's like a John Irving novel, minus the orphans.

And, warm, comforting flavors begin to creep their way into my cooking.  Apples, mushrooms, bitter greens, turnips, parsnips, gourds of all kinds, and earthy spices like cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg fill my kitchen with comforting aromas.

So on this beautiful fall day, I offer up some autumnal love with farro.

Farro with Butternut Squash, Apples, and Dried Cranberries

Striking a great balance between sweet and savory, this dish can serve a crowd!  Perfect for your Thanksgiving table or a meat-free movie night with friends.

2 cups farro
4 cups butternut squash (1 medium squash), peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into slices
3 cloves garlic, 2 minced and 1 lightly smashed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbl stone ground mustard
3 Tbl red wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable stock
2 Tbl coconut oil
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbl fresh sage, minced
1 Tbl fresh rosemary, mince (plus 1 sprig)
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups arugula
salt and pepper

Bring 4 cups of salty water to a boil with 1 garlic clove, bay leaves,  and thyme and rosemary (tied into a bundle).  Add farro, reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes.  Drain water, remove garlic and herbs, reserve.

In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat and saute onions until just beginning to become translucent, about 10-12 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add cumin, nutmeg, and remaining two cloves of garlic, minced, and cook for 1 minute.  Add squash and cook for about five minutes, adjusting seasoning.  Add apples, rosemary, and sage and cook until apples begin to soften, about four minutes.

In a small bowl, combine mustard, vinegar, and vegetable stock.  Add to pan, scraping up any bits with a wooden spoon.  Add reserved farro and cranberries.  Toss to combine and cook over medium heat for six or seven minutes until farro is tender but still al dente.  Remove from heat and stir in arugula.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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