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Its name is farro

As I type this, it is cloudy again, and cold. The weather today leaves much to be desired. Such as some sunlight, for starters, and warmth, and caramelized onions. Right now, I really, really desire caramelized onions.

I know that this picture doesn’t seem to have much to do with onions, nor does it even seem appetizing, I imagine, but bear with me for a second. What you see there is my new ideal lunch: warm farro with French lentils, caramelized onions, and feta. It’s ugly as sin, and it’s also completely delicious. It’s a little like a lentil salad and a lot like mujadara, and if I could somehow ensure - maybe through magic, or fervent prayer - that there would always be a bowl of it in the fridge, I would gladly eat it every single day.

I don’t know about you, but I find this time of year to be uniquely annoying. It’s not winter, but it’s also not quite spring. There are artichokes and asparagus, but aside from that, it’s hard to know what to eat. So I go to the pantry, and I open it and sigh, and then I bring out the grains and legumes, the humble arsenal of the in-between season. Usually, I make the aforementioned mujadara, a soulful rice dish with green lentils and lots of caramelized onions. It is very, very difficult to beat. More recently, I also tried this recipe for koshary, a close cousin of mujadara that includes some seared macaroni, and it was pretty wonderful, too. (In particular, you should try Francis’s method for cooking rice. It’s perfect.) But then I found something to beat them both, and its name is farro.

Farro, the Italian name for emmer wheat, has been cropping up all over the place lately, so you’ve probably heard of it. If you haven’t, it’s a wheat grain - a kernel, really - and it looks a little bit like barley. Whole grains are making a big comeback right now - quinoa, bulgur, whathaveyou - but to tell you the truth, farro is the only one that I actually get excited about. It’s chewy and slightly sweet and has a big, nutty flavor, and it can be used in salads, soups, riffs on risotto, and about a million other things. Which is where mujadara comes in. The other day, when I went to make mujadara, I was feeling a little frisky, and instead of pulling out the usual bag of rice, I decided to try using farro. It is a sad day, I realize, when a person comes to associate the words ‘feeling frisky’ with eating boiled wheat kernels, but I am not ashamed to admit it. It was fantastic.

Especially with some feta, crumbled or strewn in hunks, on top. And hot sauce, for dining companions named Brandon.

Though it may appear otherwise, this bowl is not wearing a halo over there on the left side - that’s just an odd play of light on Brandon’s jeans - but it might as well have been. This stuff is worthy of halos and more. The lentils are earthy and rich, and the farro is plump and toasty, and then there are the sweet, sticky onions, and those three alone would be fine, but with some tangy feta on top, it deserves a lot of superlatives. It’s similar to mujadara, for sure, but it tastes entirely different from the usual rice-based specimen. It has a nuttier, more complex, more satisfying chew, and basically, I would like some right this minute, at 9:32 am, only an hour after breakfast. That pretty well sums up how I feel about it.

P.S. San Francisco! I’m coming to you again! This Saturday, April 18, at 3:00 pm, I will be at Omnivore Books on Food for a reading and signing. If you’ve never been to Omnivore, or if you have, please stop by. It’s an amazing little store, and I’m honored to do an event there.

Warm Farro with French Lentils, Caramelized Onions, and Feta

What follows is closer to a set of guidelines than it is to a real recipe, so do with it what you will. The most important part is the onions: be sure to take your time with them, and stir them frequently. Make this on a Sunday, or on a weeknight when you have some extra time to cook.

We eat this as a main dish, but it would be a nice side for almost any roasted or grilled meat. It is also delicious - and prettier - with some cooked kale or chard stirred in. Just boil the greens in nicely salted water for about 5 to 7 minutes, until tender but not mushy; then drain them, squeeze all the water out, coarsely chop, and add to the farro mixture.

And about farro: most of what is sold in the U.S. - I’ve found it at Whole Foods and fancy grocery stores, or you can get it from ChefShop - is grown in Italy, but there are also some domestic producers, like Bluebird Grain Farms in Winthrop, Washington. It is usually sold semi-pearled (semiperlato), meaning the some of the bran has been removed. If you buy whole farro, though, it will likely need to soak overnight before cooking - rather than a brief soak for semi-pearled - and will need to cook for 30 to 45 minutes more.

2 medium or large yellow onions
Olive oil
Kosher salt
¾ cup farro
½ cup French lentils, carefully picked through for pebbles and debris
Feta cheese
Hot sauce, such as sambal oelek (optional)
Lemon (optional)

First, the onions: slice them thinly. When I caramelize onions, I slice mine about ¼-inch thick, and I slice them lengthwise, from top to bottom - going “with the grain,” so to speak - so that they hold their shape. (If this makes no sense, check out the first two minutes of this video, from Fine Cooking. It’s a great demonstration.)

Pour a few glugs of olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet. You want to be generous here, nearly coating the bottom of the skillet. Warm the oil over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, dump in the onions. They should sizzle. Stir them to coat, and then add a couple of pinches of salt. (Some people say that this causes the onions to fall apart more quickly, but I do it anyway. I like that it causes them to release some water, so that they stay moister, and it seems to make them caramelize more evenly, too.) Reduce the heat to low or medium-low, and continue to cook slowly, stirring occasionally. First, they will soften a bit; then they will go a little golden; and then they will begin to caramelize. It takes a long time to do this properly, so be patient – and stir regularly, especially as they take on color. My last batch of caramelized onions took about an hour and a half. When they’re done, they will have shrunk down in volume by quite a lot, and they should be a deep amber color and almost translucent.

Meanwhile, once you’ve got the onions started, put the farro in a medium bowl, add cold water to cover, and set it aside to soak for 30 minutes. Then drain it, turn it out into a medium saucepan, and add 3 cups of cold water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat and simmer until tender but still a little chewy, about 30 minutes. It’s up to you, really, how “done” you want your farro. At 20 or 25 minutes, mine is usually too tough, but a few minutes later, it’s perfect: no longer a major jaw workout, but still al dente, for lack of a different term. When the farro is ready, drain it, and set aside.

While the farro is cooking, put the lentils into another medium saucepan. Add 3 cups of cold water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat and simmer until tender but not falling apart, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, and rinse briefly under cool water.

By this point, ideally, your onions will be nicely caramelized. Now combine it all – onions, farro, and lentils – in a bowl and stir gently. Taste, and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve with feta crumbled on top and, if you like, hot sauce and/or a squeeze of lemon.

Note: Leftovers keep nicely in the fridge. Rewarm slightly before eating.

Yield: 3-4 servings


Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks for this - the perfect antidote to a Seattle "spring", and I use that term loosely. Also, I made the walnut crema with hazelnuts instead and it was divine - I didn't use the cooking water because it was full of skins and bitter - plain water worked great. Love following your writing!

11:08 AM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger debbie koenig said...

Mmm. I do loves me some farro. Wonder if it's kosher for Passover... I'm guessing no.

11:09 AM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger denisekit said...

Molly, this sounds satisfying, not to mention delicious. And here's a shout out for Bluebird Grain farro. I discovered them about a year ago and haven't stopped since! I spend a lot of time in Winthrop, so that makes it easy to find.

11:16 AM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Kimberley said...

It hardly looks ugly as sin through the lens of your polaroid.
Really wish that I could make it Saturday to Omnivore Books, but will be working. Hope you'll come back soon.

11:31 AM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Phoo-D said...

We've been making lentils a lot lately to bridge that very gap you speak of between winter and spring. I will look for farro next time I'm in a Wholefoods!

You should try to squeeze in dinner at A-16 when you are in San Fran. We made the asparagus with walnut crema for Easter and just loved it. The flavors reminded us oddly of peanut butter and jelly, but in a good way.

11:43 AM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous gemma said...

I've been craving caramelized onions as well. I will definitely be making this soon. Thank you!

11:52 AM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous jenny said...

hi molly! love your site and have been cooking your recipes obsessively since discovering it a few weeks ago. (love the book too!) one question: since they take so long to cook, can you make caramelized onions in advance, like on a sunday, and then use them in various recipes all week? or do they get mushy? i've been employing this weekly batch strategy with your oven dried tomatoes and it's really added some bright zestiness to my weeknight dinners but i'm guessing cooked onions lose some of their deliciousness in the fridge, right?

11:56 AM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger scott said...

Molly, you're so right - it is that in-between time where I have no idea what to eat. I, too, have been turning to legumes and grains. I'm excited to read about this fabulous recipe, too.
Thanks, as always, for your inspiration!

11:58 AM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Kristina said...

Oooh, thank you. I'd become estranged from my kitchen over the past few weeks, and now I know why: it is hard to figure out what to eat right now, isn't it? Oh, well. Small sweet green things will be popping up soon enough. Thank goodness for that.

11:59 AM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I have farro in the cupboard. It's been waiting there for a Zuni recipe. But I might just cheat and use it for an Orangette recipe. Why not? They are always equally good!

I am absolutely hating this weather. It is damp and dreary - and oh, so cold - in NYC. I am sooooo tired of feeling chilled to the bone every time I walk outside, even if the magnolia trees are in bloom in Central Park. That just makes it all the more annoying.

At least an Orangette post warmed me up a little this afternoon.

12:09 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Sarah Murphy-Kangas said...

I just had some delicious farro at Poppy on Seattle's Capitol Hill. Thanks for another reason to start cooking with it more often. BTW, I'm a new reader of yours and have been over-the-top inspired--so much so that I started my own food blog. What a treat to read your postings.

12:12 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Emily said...

definitely going to see if i can find some farro here. i too am in need of something new for this in between time. i've been succumbing more and more often to produce from far off places.

12:19 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger emily said...

Oh my god, mujadara? Holy crap, you don't realize how surprised I was to see that on a food blog!

I grew up in an Arab-American household, and one of the few things my American (southern) mother knew how to make well from the Arab side is mujadara. As a kid, it's boring. Now, as I've grown up, I appreciate it more. (Although my mom overcooks everything, which ruins the texture.) But the onions were always my favorite part!

A bit of advice - we could never make mujadara without a big bowl of salad. A simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing in a simple lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, feta salad is fantastic. The brightness of the salad really helps the mujadara!

I think I may have to try to make this soon. I think my mom would be happy to hear me attempting something I've grown up with, but in a refreshed form.

12:25 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger rachel said...

Oh, you've read my mind. This month started off so well...last week, it was actually warm. The ice had disappeared, to be replaced by dust - dust! I haven't seen dust in months! And last night, it rained for hours, a surprising feat here in Edmonton. I was ecstatic. But of course, today, I wake up to a veritable blizzard. I can't say I'm surprised, as this happens nearly every year, but deluding myself gets me through the long winter. That, and mujadara, which was my first thought when I saw the snow - along with a few other fantastic cold-weather recipes. ...maybe this last bout of snow isn't so bad.

12:33 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Blushing hostess said...

Asolutely my favorite grain.

12:44 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger City Girl said...

Looks great - and say, I agree with you that this is an annoying time of year - I need the market to start bursting with berries for one. Heck, I need asparagus to show up in my neck of the woods!

12:47 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Rebecca said...

oh Molly, your name has been popping up a lot in my kitchen lately (mostly in response to the question "where did you get that recipe?"). Just wanted to say thank you thank you for the cream braised cabbage recipe - I made it at Easter and it was a huge success. You've revolutionized several people's relationship with cabbage! I'm in complete agreement about caramelized onions too. I've got a jar in the fridge of some that I made with black mission figs, I think it will work well with the farro.

12:59 PM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous Solo Road Trip said...

It is indeed a confusing time of year. Is winter coming or going? I'm even confused and so is my wardrobe. One thing that isn't confusing is the recipe and the fact it's delicious and I could eat it year-round. -- Tammie

1:04 PM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous Sara said...

Sounds delicious and perfect when a 'spring' day is 41F with drizzle.

1:18 PM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous Hillary said...

Just recently starting eating quinoa, now farro is next on the list (but I'll have to wait until after Passover!) :)

1:27 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Caroline said...

This looks great! I haven't tried Farro, but it sounds really good, especially with Feta cheese (I eat Feta cheese for lunch in one form or another almost every day).

I made your French Lemon Yogurt Cake our Easter dinner--it was so delicious! It came out moist, fluffy, and slightly sticky from the lemon syrup. Amazing. I served it with a side of fresh strawberries and apples. I had to try hard not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

1:29 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Valser said...

Are those pictures poladroids? they are fantastic!

1:58 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Emma Nowinski said...

Molly -
Have you had the lentils, kale and goat cheese dish over at Smith yet?? You should. And then think up some variations. And post about them. I think we'd all have even more new favorites for this chilly spring... (hooray for the sun finally showing its face this afternoon!)

2:01 PM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous Jacqueline said...

oooh, this looks SO delicious! it looks and sounds so good in fact, i am going to make it for dinner!

2:20 PM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous Chilli said...

Tried a farro and bacon recipe once before with disastrous, the-dog-will-lick-himself-yet-even-he-wouldn't-eat-it results...the recipe here is tempting me to try again but am really scared...we'll see...
On a happier note, tried the walnut crema from your earlier post; sans asparagus (since they were sadly but firmly committed to another recipe) but with roasted red peppers and pasta ....super divine!!

2:22 PM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous Megan said...

Hi Molly!

This looks so lovely. I just ordered your book and I can hardly wait for my friends to bring it over from the USA (I had a hard time finding it here in Australia). We are at that in between stage with the weather too but we are going in the opposite direction. Have a safe trip to San Francisco.

2:29 PM, April 14, 2009  
OpenID thecatskillkiwi said...

it is a hard time of year to creatively feed oneself, oh sigh, when will spring, spring?

2:49 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger laura said...

How funny, I just picked up some farro at the market today! I've been toying with different recipes all afternoon trying to choose one & yours sounds just perfect. Thanks, as always, for sharing.

2:58 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger michaela said...

this is an excellent lentil salad for this transitional season. link 'href', 'target', 'rel', 'name' i love lentils and have some farro in the pantry so i'll give this a shot.

3:01 PM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous Mixing Bowl Mama said...

I've been curious about farro and I think you've just provided the perfect dish for me to try it with...thank you..and I hope it warms up for you soon.

3:29 PM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous beyond said...

i am ashamed to say i have never had farro. it sounds yummy. it snowed in nyc today, and i wish i had a bowl of it right now.

3:50 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Laura [What I Like] said...

Oh that sounds so wonderful and wholesome! I am totally with you on the rice and lentils with onions thing...the best!! Will have to give this a try...there isn't too much that isn't improved by a bit of feta. By the way, if you're looking for ways to use up grain, might I suggest using barley in risotto? Delicious!!!

3:58 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Lucy T. said...

Nice! I am coincidentally cooking up some Dupuy lentils now...and caramelizing some onions! The weather is kind of chilly not-Spring in Toronto too.

Kind of wish I had some farro now. I was going to make some hutspot (just a simple Dutch dish of carrots and potatoes mashed together) and stir the fried onions and lentils through it. I'm also making kale "chips" in the oven to have on the side, because I feel that I need something green with dinner. And they're yummy.

4:52 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger shari said...

hi molly. tom has been wanting to try farro so i'm excited to have this recipe...he has a birthday coming up so i just might make this for his lunch. nothing is better than caramelized onions. i agree. xox

5:04 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Julie said...

Molly, thanks for the farro recipe, can't wait to try it. We had some pretty amazing farro at Barolo a few weeks ago -- Coscia D’agnello, Roasted Duck Leg, Kale and Farro. Don't know exactly how they prepared it, but it was wonderful (and just right for yet another of those cold, wet Seattle nights).

5:36 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Anne Zimmerman said...

I adore farro but am always mystified at how hard it is to find/ how expensive it can be.
In SF you can get a big ole bag for $12 at Rainbow Grocery. A very worthwhile investment in my opinion!

5:47 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger this humble abode said...

I had to order your book, and it just arrived today, thankfully in time for your reading on Saturday. I'm so glad you're coming back to SF, since I couldn't make it last time.

6:21 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Allison said...

yay! you're coming back to SF. I came to your first reading but had to leave early so I will ABSOLUTELY be there on Saturday to get my book signed!

7:10 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Katie Louvat said...

molly - do you think you'll make a trip to chicago on your book tour? I hope so!

7:58 PM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous Treehouse Collective said...

Ooo.. Omnivore IS fabulous! I recently went for the first time and bought a great 1960s first edition of 'The Cheeses of Old England'. Does it get any better than that? Wish I could make the signing, but we're having a massive yard sale. Next time : )

8:35 PM, April 14, 2009  
Anonymous kristin said...

Like emily I grew up with Lebanese dishes like mujadara as a part of every day life. I was surprised Molly at your referring to lentils and rice by the Arabic name rather than the English term.

Most people who are not of Middle Eastern decent haven't a clue as to what lentils and rice are in Arabic. (althought I am not sure, you could be Middle Eastern for all I know.) Anyways, I find it really neat that you can do that. Thanks for making my day. :)

10:13 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Sara Reddy Coyne said...

My kitchen has been like a skipping record, stuck on roast chicken for the last few weeks. I blame the agonizing inbetweenness of the seasons (and the deliciousness of roast chicken). Maybe it's time for farro. Or for Spring to commit.

11:12 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger kickpleat said...

I've made the koshary and loved it, but farro & I have yet to get acquainted! I'll seek it out soon.

11:44 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger Kristen said...

Mmm, farro. We also buy ours from Bluebird Grains - it's the best! We will definitely be trying this at home...

12:05 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Emily said...

Make a note somewhere to try the butternut squash, feta and walnut oil farro recipe on 101cookbooks.com next fall. It's the recipe that made me run out to the store looking frantically for this weird thing called farro and falling in love with it. ;)

This looks fabulous, my dear! Can't wait to try it.

12:15 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Brian G. said...

I will try it. Have you tried the tiny orange Lebanese lentils? I haven't found them since the Lebanese grocer closed here but they are great.

The Bolivian quinoa is also worth tracking down especially a large seeded quinoa real, patacamaya, chucapaca, or sayaña varieties (Ok, I am a little biased. I studied quinoa varieties for my master's thesis.) I am always disappointed with the small grained saponin laden quinoa in the bulk food section.

4:57 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger teryll said...

You had me at feta..... :)

5:42 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger meg said...

I feel less guilty now copying all your great recipes, now that I've bought your book, A Homemade Life. I read it in a gulp and loved it, and posted a reader review on Amazon. Thanks!

6:32 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Laura said...

I love Farro, I just used it yesterday instead of arborio rice to make risotto. It feels so good when you eat it because it is so healthy.

I have your book signing on my calendar, I have read so many great things about your book, can't wait to read it. See you there!

7:15 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Kali said...

Caramelized onions make almost everything better.

I think I have a recipe for farro using a risotto application, but I'll try this one first. ;)

7:29 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Chelsea said...

I love farro and use it all the time. It's a great foil for different vegetables all year round. With the carmelized onions and feta, this sounds particularly satisfying. I love the first photo of Brandon's bowl with hot sauce. I just might take his lead.

7:51 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Miss Kate said...

Oh, lady, you've got the best ideas. I've used your recipe for mujadara several times now, and even my meat-and-potatoes-loving husband squeals with glee when I make it. Also, I heard on the Splendid Table last week that the recipe for mujadara is actually several hundred years old. It was featured in one of the first Arabic cookbooks!

When I swing by my favorite Wichita health food store today, I'll check on the farro. They've got a giant bulk section of grains and beans; surely they'll have it!

8:01 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Cookie baker Lynn said...

I am with you on the weather. Is it too much to ask for some sun?? In the meantime, this looks like a wonderful, comforting dish to keep the grey sky blues at bay.

8:31 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger JenV said...

This is great! I am new to your site and just read your book. (which I enjoyed, by the way) I just bought some farro at Bob's Red Mill in Portland. Thanks for giving me an idea of what to do with it!

8:58 AM, April 15, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for including grains and lentils so much in your recipes. I love Faro and tried it before I discovered I can not have wheat- a great alternative for any one with this is Lundberg's rice varieties like Wehani or Black Japonica.

I always look for recipes with non wheat grains and have found some really great/healthy things to eat this way.

I make caramelized onions in my slow cooker so I can have them when I want since they keep well for a while. Caramelized onions are quite a treat, indeed.

Thanks for the recipe it is perfect and I will try it soon.

I am almost done catching up with all the blogs after reading your WONDERFUL book....and although sad I will not have all that reading now at least I can still look forward to the weekly blog.


9:24 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Jeff (Chowplay) said...

Molly...the timing on this is perfect. We have indeed been seeing Farro all over the place, but I have yet to cook with it. This looks like a good entry level approach

9:49 AM, April 15, 2009  
Anonymous Jessamyn said...

I got hold of some Bluebird farro not long ago, and it is amazing stuff. So sweet and nutty! We usually do it up with sauteed mushrooms and a dab of cream, so good.

10:05 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger denise said...

happy to know that you will be returning to san francisco. we are the land of food lovers!

10:57 AM, April 15, 2009  
Anonymous s. stockwell said...

Well this just hits the spot right now...simple rich & tasty...we can imagine it now. after the big Easter splurge, this idea will come in handy. Best from Santa Barbara, s

12:14 PM, April 15, 2009  
Anonymous Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) said...

I am totally with you on this season thing. I have been underdressed for three weeks now. Its sunny outside, it looks nice, put on a spring jacket and am blown away by the cold wind. Over it and ready for warmth.

12:52 PM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger sew nancy said...

i am making this soon
i like mujadara
something my family has been making and i
didn't know anyone who ate it but dare i say this sounds better!

6:15 PM, April 15, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't think i can thank you enough for the onion cooking/cutting tips. i can't wait to make this recipe. i made the koshary recipe. wonderful. thanks again.

6:36 PM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Anna said...

I know what mean about how annoying this time of year is. Up here in Toronto, it was all lovely and spring-like, until it SNOWED last week! Unbelievable. Anyway, this dish looks delightfully comforting and yummy, and I'm with Brandon on the hot sauce--never too much, can go with it all.

7:37 PM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Kathy said...

If you're in Seattle, find bulk farro at Big John's PFI (Pacific Food Importers) on 6th just south of the International District.

9:35 PM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Greenbean said...

I recently had a warm farro, feta and beet salad. It was SO delicious. Farro can be hard to find, but is oh-so worth it.

10:29 PM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Anna said...

HAHA! feeling frisky over farro, I love it!!

10:40 PM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Susan said...

I tried this recipe yesterday and it was absolutely delicious. The caramelized onions are well worth the wait.

6:14 AM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger reya said...

Funny, but somehow the best tasting food always seem the least visually pleasing :) Can't wait to try this one Molly. Do you think it would work well with wheat berries?

7:26 AM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Claudia said...

Love farro. hard to find in MN - but I persevere and when I go travelling to the east coast - find some and bring it home. But now you have me in the mood for lentils...

8:57 AM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Rita said...

I love mujadara, never thought about using farro for it though. To be honest, every time I want to buy farro I change my mind because it is so exepensive. I hope you getto enjoy the nice weather that is out today!

9:15 AM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Kasey said...

I have been in love with farro for 3-4 years now. Ever since I came across it on a restaurant menu, I just can't get enough. I really wish it was more widely available and less expensive!

9:45 AM, April 16, 2009  
Anonymous Hartley from Kitchen Caravan said...

Yum! I LOVE farro. This looks very tasty - can't wait to try it. Another one of my favorite recipes is this one for Farro with Olives and Olive Oil. It really brings out the flavor of the olives and makes for a delicious (and simple!) weeknight meal. Enjoy!

9:52 AM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Barbara said...

I agree- French lentils are fabulous and I have lots of recipes for them but with farro? Can't wait to try it.

10:44 AM, April 16, 2009  
Anonymous autumn said...

I fell in love with farro while in Italy in 2002, having had it prepared in a Tuscan countryside restaurant with tuna, parsley and tomatoes. It was earthy, fresh and bright, and very satisfying. I bought a large bag of it to take home and have made it ever since.

I made your dish last night for my husband and a friend and they both loved it. The nuttiness of the farro, mineral-ness of the lentils and creamy french feta was amazingly good together, and even better with the Cremant d'Alsace we enjoyed it with.

11:02 AM, April 16, 2009  
Anonymous ann said...

The next time you are in NY, have breakfast/brunch at 'inoteca in the LES. They make a warm, milky breakfast farro topped with roasted fruits that will quite possibly change your world.

Or, if you can dig up a February 2007 issue of Gourmet there's a recipe for it in there, or you can try my version (it's on the site).

But, I really do highly suggest coming to NY and trying the original. Its best eaten in situ, next to the window on a drizzly day when you can just sit and watch the world go by.

11:37 AM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger pitseleh said...

You're coming to SF! I'm going to school near there so I will definitely try to make it on Saturday.

1:34 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Miss Wahoo said...

I've never tried farro, but since I love quinoa & bulgur, I'm thinking I'll like farro too. Per Bluebird's website, the store closest to me that carries it is PCC. Which isn't THAT far, but I don't plan on leaving my neighborhood until next week! By any chance, do you know if Ballard Market (or Fred Meyer, even better) carries any kind farro? In my mind's eye, I can picture it bulk foods section.

I wanted to say that I look forward to trying the walnut crema recipe from last week, especially since we might have local asparagus at this Sunday's farmers market. WOO HOO!

2:21 PM, April 16, 2009  
Anonymous Sunset Hill girl said...

Bluebird Grain Farm is coming to Ballard Sunday Market starting on April 25th(?). Here's a link to the Ballard Market blog with the news...

I love the Ballard Sunday Market.

Made the walnut crema last week, the only thing I didn't like about it was the color... beige. Don't know what color I thought it would be, pink maybe ? It was wierd eating a food that beige.

5:33 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger jodye said...

I eat a meal like this nearly every day.. I vary the grains, but caramelized onions and lentils are always a must. It is so satisfying and delicious... looks certainly are deceiving!

7:18 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Miss Wahoo said...

Thank you, Sunset Hill Girl(from another Sunset Hill Girl). I'll make sure we visit the Ballard Farmers Market that weekend.

7:34 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Tea said...

"It is a sad day, I realize, when a person comes to associate the words ‘feeling frisky’ with eating boiled wheat kernels, but I am not ashamed to admit it."

And this, Miss Molly, is why I love you. xox

8:06 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Molly said...

Hellooo! Thank you for all of these comments, as always. I am being eaten alive by Delancey, so I'm going to keep it brief here and just answer a few questions:

Jenny, you can absolutely make caramelized onions ahead of time. They keep beautifully, and I'll bet they'd be fine in the fridge for a few days, if not a week or more.

Valser, my photographs are real Polaroids, scanned and uploaded. So glad you like them!

Katie, I'm afraid I won't be coming to Chicago on my book tour, no. I wish I could, but it's not in the cards this time. So sorry about that!

Reya, I'll bet wheat berries would work just fine here, yes. I haven't tried it, but I can't imagine why it wouldn't work...

Miss Wahoo, I see that Sunset Hill Girl left a comment about Bluebird Grain Farms coming to the farmers' market - great news! woo hoo! - but I wanted to chime in to say that Ballard Market does carry farro. It's not in bulk, but they do have it. It's imported from Italy, but in a pinch, if you can't get to the farmers' market, it's good to know about.

8:29 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Mary Beth said...

Hi Molly. I just wanted to say I'm reading your book right now and I love it so much! I'm savoring it--just don't want it to end too quickly. In truth, I've never read your blog, just kept hearing about your book on others' blogs so decided it would make the perfect spring break read.

I read in your faq's section about writing about what you are passionate about--that is what I have tried to do on my blog and am having so much fun. I really liked that you touched on that. I'm bookmarking your blog now and will be back many times.
Mary Beth

8:29 PM, April 16, 2009  
Anonymous Soup and Song said...

Wow. I've been making mujadara for years but never would've thought to use farro in place of the rice. I *just* discovered your fine blog and had to go to two stores today to find farro, but it was worth the trip. I told my honey as I was cooking that it was partially your graceful writing and beautiful photos that made me become obsessed with making this dish TODAY, so thank you for the inspiration! The dish was everything I hoped it would be, and I'll be visiting your blog often. Cheers!

9:27 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger the purcells said...

love farro & have been using it in lots of recipes lately. this recipe sounds delicious, thanks!! the only other hearty whole grain i get excited about at the moment is wheat berries - but maybe because i find them very similar to farro!

11:39 PM, April 16, 2009  
Anonymous Sunset Hill girl said...

I buy the Italian farro at Ballard Market but am looking forward to buying a local brand, Bluebird, at the farmers market. Italy is so far away, lots of fuel spent shipping it. The Sunset Hill Green Grocer carries farro too but were out yesterday, it's on order.

7:49 AM, April 17, 2009  
Anonymous Jason Stewart said...

hello orangette i was wondering if you would give me a little review as i'm doing a food publication and i would like you to possibly include a link to it in your blog. you can contact me at delishflickzine@hotmail.com and you can have a look at how the publication is going to take shape at www.delishflickzine.com i would be able to give you an exclusive preview before it's published.. if you interested at all I would be really grateful.. regards, Jason Stewart, if you would like to find out more about me you can go to www.designerjase.com thankyou

12:18 PM, April 17, 2009  
Blogger Cassidy Lee said...

There are so many comments that I don't know if this is a repeat or not. I really like farro, too. I love it's chewy texture and nutty flavor. You might also enjoy Kamut which is another variety of wheat that plumps up golden and has a sweet, nutty flavor. Much better than your average wheat berry. In case you haven't tried it- you should give it a shot if you see it.

12:30 PM, April 17, 2009  
Blogger Colleen said...

I, too, love carmelized onions and I had one of the best dishes ever at Taste, at the Seattle Art Museum--Alsatian flat bread. I made a version of it for Easter brunch and it's simple and delicious: pizza dough, carmelized onions, 1/2 lb. good quality bacon (chopped and cooked but not too crisp because it will cook more in the oven), brie or other soft cheese, sprinkling of rosemary. Cook at 450 on hot tiles for 8 minutes or so.

12:41 PM, April 17, 2009  
Blogger Stephy said...

Wonderful wonderful blog. I intend to be at your signing tomorrow if I can make it. I've been following this blog for a while and I absolutely love it. I even just started my own food blog food-4-your-soul.blogspot.com.

Been cooking for a while and it's always great to find a fellow foodie.

1:15 PM, April 17, 2009  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Well, it looks like I am going to the store to some farro now. I have been a big quinoa fan for a while and have found wheat berries useable in dishes but I am not a huge fan. Also, we finally had a taste of spring but now it is cold and dark outside. What a tease.

5:17 AM, April 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just made this for dinner tonight and can't stop eating it. I guess I should give it a chance to actually make it to the table.I had a little nubbin of radicchio in the bottom of the veg drawer and threw that in too.It definately takes it out of the ugly as sin category, and the slight bitterness is a nice contrast to the rich sweet onions. Now that I have a good bit of faro left to play with, I can make one of those lovely wheat and ricotta tortas that everone was blogging about over Easter! Thanks for another winner.

1:04 PM, April 18, 2009  
Anonymous gastroanthropologist said...

I hate raw onions, but love carmelized onions. I just started your book a few days ago... just starting the chapter about the ginger cake - very much enjoying the book (and blog)!

1:11 PM, April 18, 2009  
Blogger Antonio Tahhan said...

Molly, I had mujadara for lunch almost everyday for the past week. It was a sad week. Perhaps because I grew up eating this dish, it lost its charm on me. On the other hand, it probably was mostly my fault for underestimating the potential of 1lb of dry lentils.
I have bookmarked this recipe though, for when my body can handle more lentils (or for when I'm feeling
a bit frisky)
ps. it was great meeting you in dc!

3:28 PM, April 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blog, and I hope you will come back to the bay area soon, I wasn't able to make it to Omnivore. Bookshop Santa Cruz would be great.
where do you get your polaroid film? I'm desperate!!


4:38 PM, April 18, 2009  
Blogger Laura said...

Molly, it was great to listen to your book presentation yesterday. I started reading your book last night, and it brought memories of my life growing up, with a father who cooked all the time. Cooking was an integral part of my family life growing up as well, and I have loads of warm memories of the thousands meals I had with my loud Italian family. I am looking forward to reading the book to the end, and hearing updates on the restaurant. We are touching up our business plan so we can present it around in the next weeks. IF we ever open it, I would be honored if you come to eat there.


8:10 AM, April 19, 2009  
Blogger gail said...

Looks delicious!! Love lentils & farro - so it's a perfect combo!!

9:57 AM, April 19, 2009  
Anonymous Romney said...

hi Molly

just to say, enjoyed your reading at Omnivore Books on Saturday. Your story is an inspiration, not so much that you have written a book (and yes congratulations, as I said there), but that you didn't give up and that you created the space for yourself to figure out what was important in your life. I posted about you on my own blog (www.mynepenthebook.com), somewhat of a rattle on about living such a life, what food also means to me, and how your relationship to food similarly inspires my own relationships around the table.

I look forward to coming to Seattle soon (late summer), and also checking out your new restaurant.


12:43 PM, April 19, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calvin Trillin has a great story about farro and family--it is in the 2006 food writing supplement to Gourmet, along with a lot of other good stories. Coincidentally discovered this in a "to read" pile just this week! Guess I need to catch up...

2:22 PM, April 19, 2009  
Anonymous Cate said...

Is Farro similar to Freekah? I made this today with freekah and preserved lemons and even my 6 year old gave it 2 thumbs up. Thanks for sharing, it will become a lunchtime staple around here. Yum.

3:28 AM, April 20, 2009  
Anonymous Recipe man said...

this looks great im sure to try this out. this is the first time i visit this blog. and its so good!


3:49 AM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Kristina said...

oh i bought some farro a few days ago and had completely forgotten about it - it's so coming out of the cupboard and onto the table now!

i love caramalised onions, too, and sometimes put in a pinch of brown sugar and/or a drop of balsamico - naughty but delicious.

sending some spring sunshine from berlin to seattle!

4:22 AM, April 20, 2009  
Anonymous Robyne said...

I've just discovered you Molly - your blog came up as best food blog ever, on the guardian newspaper website and since then I have been have been glued to my chair reading all your previous posts.
Living in Italy farro very easily available and I have tried it a couple of times but never with the success of last nights using your recipe - it was absolutely yummy! Thought the hot sauce and feta worked perfectly. I also tried the asparagus dish with the walnut cream as a side dish (we are very greedy people) and they, I thought, complimented each other very well indeed. I am now trawling through all your previous posts for dinner tonight - Molly, you are fast become my hero.

8:07 AM, April 20, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the middle of reading your book I had to do the cornbread recipe but I now call it "Maple Syrup Soup With Cornbread Croutons" - yummy!!!!

9:48 AM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Brooke said...

HI, Brooke here from Bluebird Grain Farms in Washington State. Just to clarify, our whole grain farro is not semi-pearled but whole grain Farro. We do not remove any of the germ and bran becuase nutrition is our number one goal when growing and processing ancient grains.

Thanks for the nice PR and wonderful blog! Best- Brooke Lucy

10:33 AM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Susie said...

yum that was delicious! thanks so much for this recipe, it will be a front runner in my artillery from now on!! i would never have expected that flavour to hit my mouth using those ingredients!!

12:10 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Carol Peterman said...

Another farro reference. I really need to buy some and start cooking with it. Caramelized onions have become a staple in my fridge over the last few months. I figure if I am going to take the time to make them, I had better make a big batch and they are great to have on hand to add to sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, and now I will try them with farro.

6:25 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Julie Reinhardt said...

This brings back a food memory from years ago, a tasty one. Only I think that farro of the past had golden raisins or currants thrown into the mix. Thanks for the remind!

12:38 AM, April 21, 2009  
Blogger Diana said...

I made this for dinner tonight, Molly-- and thanks for the recipe. What a good, easy, healthy dinner to have in my repertoire, especially as I have a caramelized onion fetish. And I even discovered that my kids will eat farro.

9:39 PM, April 21, 2009  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Made farro for the first time tonight - prodded on by this post. YUM. Will now eat farrow with anything. Awesome.

10:16 PM, April 21, 2009  
Anonymous Christine said...

Bugialli has a wonderful recipe, Torta di Farro: a cake with farro and orange peel and ricotta...just made it 2 nights ago. (Advice: cook the farro in whole milk instead of milk and water.)

11:37 AM, April 27, 2009  
Blogger tigress said...

hi molly,
I made this last night and we just finished it off tonight. it was amazing. i had been looking to try farro and had already bought some but didn't quite know what to do with it. so this was perfect. i will make it again and again. in addition to the feta sprinkled on top i had some home made middle eastern lemon pickle which i also chopped and added on top in the bowl and also sliced some chile peppers thin and topped it. those took it over the top!

bet it would be great with whole mung beans also.

thanks for this!

7:48 PM, April 28, 2009  
Anonymous Season to Taste Blog said...

I ADORE farro---actually, I just made it last night usinga recipe from 101 Cookbooks---- I'm going to try this recipe next. DELISH!!!!
Thx for posting!

6:05 AM, April 29, 2009  
Anonymous Kat said...

Thank you! I made a similar recipe long long ago, think it was from vegetarian times, and had forgotten. This time I used beluga lentils and what I think was whole wheat grains. I'm stuffed but can't stop eating it...

5:07 PM, May 02, 2009  
Blogger Laura Danger Powers said...

You should be proud of yourself. I was attracted with magnetic force to this recipe, but there is no farro to be had in Little Rock.
Instead I decided to become absolutely OBSESSED with mujadara. Seriously, I have eaten it on at least 75 percent of the days that have passed since I found out about it.
Now, thanks to my dad's visit from Portland, I have farro and can make this version! I am so excited I can barely sit still.

12:03 AM, May 10, 2009  
Anonymous Elizabeth Prewitt said...

Oh, my goodness! That sounds amazing. I'm sure I have some farro in the pantry somewhere, right?

And if you've never tried it, a little mascarpone with lentils is positively addictive. I think a spoonful on top of this would gild the lily!


2:33 PM, May 20, 2009  
Blogger Pamela said...

I've been enjoying this recipe. I tried it as a side with dinner, but my kids aren't ready for it, so I happily make a batch now and serve it to myself for lunch.

I have one question about preparation that I didn't see addressed when scanning comments. Since the cooking time is the same for the farro and lentils, is there any reason not to soak the farro, and save a pan by cooking it with the lentils?

The only reason I can imagine is that cooking times might differ by a few minutes, especially if your lentils are of indeterminable age. (I don't buy mine carbon dated.)

So I get wild with my next batch, and let the lentils and farro intermingle...

10:56 AM, June 23, 2009  
Anonymous Dazy said...

I was looking for something creative like this. Then tried this awesome recipe. This recipe does not disappoint. It's a snap to prepare and really tasty.

1:02 AM, June 25, 2009  
Anonymous hrithika said...


4:03 AM, July 15, 2009  
Blogger paul_nancyrice said...

Thanks for answering my question..."what is Farro " .This recipe sounds wonderful & I will certainly be trying it.I love trying new grains etc.& flavours.

9:36 AM, February 24, 2010  
Anonymous Kathleen Hood said...

I made this recipe yesterday, and it was great! I lived in Syria for a while, and in villages in parts of Syria, mujadara is often made with burghul (aka bulgur wheat) instead of rice. I like your version, since I like the whole grain.

5:10 PM, September 09, 2012  

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