Every year when I prepare Thanksgiving dinner, I make two different stuffings, the classic bread stuffing and a rice stuffing. Being that I am Asian and am hosting for an Asian family, some sort of a rice dish is requested on the table. What can I say? We love our rice. This year, I going to throw my family a new one and replace the rice with farro. Tossed with roasted squash, swiss chard, and caramelized fennel, I’m sure this farro stuffing will please my family as much as the original (or at least I hope!)
- 1 small butternut squash
- 3 tbsp oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 cup farro
- 1/2 cup sherry
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 large bulb fennel, thinly sliced, tops removed
- 1 bunch swiss chard, thick stems removed, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place butternut squash on baking sheet. Roast until a fork can easily pierce through, about 45 minutes -1 hour. Remove from oven. When squash is cool enough to handle, remove the peel. Cut in half and remove seeds. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in medium pot over medium heat. Saute garlic and shallots for 30 seconds. Add farro and toast for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add sherry and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Pour stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until farro is tender, about 30 minutes.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add sliced farro and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until browned and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In the same pan, add 1 tbsp of oil. Increase heat to medium. Add swiss chard and saute until wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir together farro with squash, caramelized fennel and swiss chard. Serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The first time I tried farro, I was impressed with the grain. Cooked the same as you would rice, it has a bit of a chew with a subtle nutty flavor. Farro can be consumed plain but it’s fantastic in soups, salads, as a pilaf, risotto or stuffing.
Since the natural flavor of farro is nutty and savory, I decided to add deep flavors to compliment the grain. Roasted butternut squash, caramelized fennel and sauteed swiss chard all add depth to the stuffing without overwhelming the farro.
If you are using farro in its whole grain form (not semiperlato), soak the grain in water overnight. Drain the following day and cook as you would rice. Skipping this step might mean breaking a tooth, just warning you! Even if you are using the semiperlato variation, you can still soak the farro overnight to shorten the cooking time the following day. The farro should be cooked in about 10 minutes as opposed to 30. (For those who are wondering, “semiperlato” simply means the grain has stripped down. Most are already sold in this form.
Toss all the ingredients for the farro stuffing together and serve with your Thanksgiving dinner or as a side for a casual night in. Either way, this side will be a hit!
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.