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Posted on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 8 p.m.

A remedy for holiday indulgence - Farro with Butternut Squash and Kale

By Kim Bayer


Farro, also called Emmer Wheat, is an ancient grain.

Photo | Kim Bayer

Gasping "Oh, I think I hurt myself" while pushing back from the holiday table is a frequent occurrence at our house.

This year, I've tried to ride that fine line between special occasion enjoyment and overindulgence in a way that keeps my energy up and the top button of my pants intact. WIthout a strategy, it's a losing battle.

This New Year's weekend, I am going to be prepared. Not only does my plan contribute to my goal for cooking more with interesting whole grains, it's also a salutary remedy for the champagne and smoked salmon indulgences.

This high-fiber, nutrient-dense Farro with Butternut Squash and Kale is sure to provide succor from that limp and lifeless feeling after a late night. Keep it in the fridge — it's also good for "brunch" if you don't wake up until noon.

My dish was inspired by this recipe from Epicurious: Farro with acorn squash and kale.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt, freshly ground pepper
1 bunch lacinato or other kale, center stems removed, leaves torn
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 1/2 cup farro
1 diced white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 cup grated gruyere

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Put squash cubes in a large bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning squash every 10 minutes, until tender, 30-35 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot. Add 1 clove minced garlic and the kale. Saute kale until it is limp and tender. Add salt to taste. Remove to a large bowl.

In the same pan, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Saute remaining garlic and the diced onion, about 3 minutes until beginning to caramelize. Add farro. Saute about 8 minutes, until lightly toasted. Add wine and stir until almost evaporated. Add stock and simmer until farro is tender (though it will also still be chewy). Salt to taste.

When farro is cooked, add chickpeas, cooked squash and kale. Salt and pepper to taste. Put in a 7x11-inch casserole dish. Top with grated cheese. Put in the fridge like an insurance policy.

When ready to eat, remove from the fridge and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until cheese is browned and dish is hot. Serve with some cold apple cider.

And for all you locavores, kale and squash are still available at the winter's farmers' market, and the People's Food Coop carries an Ohio gruyere-style cheese called Wabash Erie Canal that is delicious.

Kim Bayer is a freelance writer and culinary researcher. She would love any news about interesting local food and agriculture efforts. Email her at kimbayer at gmail dot com.



Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

Is sounds like a great recipe, I have kale still growing in my urban garden. I've never cooked with farro before but after reading about it it would be helpful if the recipe gave some indication of how long it would need to simmer before being tender. Thanks for posting something that can be mostly local ingredients!


Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 6:20 p.m.

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