Several years ago I was introduced to Farro, an ancient Near Eastern grain, during a visit to my family in Rome. It is a delicious nutty grain that most other grains were bred from. Used in the ancient world long before and including the Roman Empire, it has come into vogue today in Europe and the USA with gourmet chefs and whole food seeking connoisseurs. It is often confused with Spelt, its close cousin.
I had a gorgeous glass canister of bright orange lentils sitting on my counter begging me to make a great tasting, beautiful and healthy meal. I looked around my pantry and refrigerator and came up with an amazingly delicious, wholesome and hearty meal that feeds many for little money. You can omit the Turkey meatballs if you prefer a vegetarian dish, and will still have a high protein, balanced meal with virtually no fat. I named it Pernod Farro Lentil Melange.
Photo by Colin Cooke
Pernod Farro Lentil Melange with Turkey Meatballs
- 1 1/2 cups Orange or Yellow lentils, uncooked
- 1 cup whole Farro, uncooked
- 1 quart filtered water
- 1 28 oz. can of San Marzanno plum tomatoes, chopped with any green removed
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 1 sliced carrot
- 1 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup Pernod
- 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/4 cup of raisins
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup ground or crushed dried Porcini mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red hot pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 lb.ground turkey, organic
- 1/4 cup finely minced shallot
- 2 Tbs. Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- In a 6 quart lidded pot, soak lentils in water overnight in the refrigerator, or for at least 8 hours.
- Stir into the pot: tomatoes, onion, carrot, Pernod, apricots, raisins, bell pepper, hot pepper, mushrooms, basil, and about a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a low boil and simmer about one half hour.
- Stir farro into pot and continue cooking for another half hour.
- During that time, in a separate bowl combine shallot with vinegar, salt and olive oil. Macerate for about 15 minutes.
- Thoroughly mix ground turkey into shallot mixture.
- Using a one inch ice cream scoop, place meatballs evenly spaced onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake meat balls in a 375′ oven for 8 minutes.
- Add meatballs into the farro lentil melange. Taste for salt content and adjust to taste. Cook for another 1/2 hour.
- Mix 3/4 of the parsley into pot at the end of cooking time, reserving the remainder for garnish.
Serve with English Ale & lime wedges.