Farro with Brussels Sprouts and Beans

I frequently trade recipes and little tastes of food with my co-worker, Brooke. Whenever I’ve made a soup or have extras of a dish I’ve made, I’ll pack up a container for her to try and she does the same. One morning, she brought me a container that held a delicious recipe of Israeli couscous, bacon, garbanzo beans, and Brussels sprouts. It looked delicious. By mid-morning, it was calling to me louder than my usual yogurt, so despite the hour, I heated it up and ate it. It was perfect, the bacon just slightly flavored the couscous and Brussels sprouts, which were cooked perfectly. It was so delicious, I was sorry there wasn’t more! I knew this could be an addicting dish, so one night I recreated it for dinner, with the basic recipe outlined, but with some changes based on what I had on hand.

I first off substituted farro for the couscous. I talked a little bit about farro in this post. Farro is my new favorite grain; it is a little larger in size than barley and it is chewy without an overpowering flavor. I made a pot of that, steamed some Brussels sprouts until they were just tender, and fried up some bacon with a little bit of shallots. I mixed everything together in a large bowl, added some butter beans, and topped it with some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top (or not if you prefer). The flavors meld together and to me, was comfort (and ease) in a bowl in a chilly winter night!

Farro with Brussels Sprouts and Beans
Here is the basic recipe, but you can always make more or less based on how many people are at your dinner table.

2 slices of raw bacon, diced
2 tablespoons minced shallots or red onion
1 ½ cup Brussels sprouts, halved
½ cup butter beans or another neutral bean (garbanzo, cannellini, Great Northern, e.g.), drained
2 cups farro, cooked*

1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and when warm, add the bacon and cook until crisp. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Add the shallots to the still warmed skillet and drain when soft. Safe about ½ tablespoon of bacon grease, discard the rest.

3. While cooking the bacon, steam the Brussels sprouts for a few minutes, to soften. Set aside when done.

4. In a large mixing bowl, add the farro, bacon and onion, and beans (unless the beans came from the fridge, at room temperature the farro will warm them). Add the bacon grease and mix. Serve with or without freshly grated parmesan cheese.

*The easiest way to cook farro is to cook it like pasta. In a pan, heat water and bring to a boil. Add one cup of farro and cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Check on it occasionally to stir and make sure it isn’t burning. This makes roughly 3 cups of cooked farro.