Are you a resolution person? Although I am not a big believer in setting a bunch of goals in January that usually don't last the month, the new year is a time of renewal. And, it's always a good time to stop the holiday eating 'madness' and get something healthy into your body. Something like this Freekeh with Greens, Fennel and Chile, adapted from a recipe from Diana Henry's Plenty. A healthy dish that could be a main dish with perhaps some beans or meaty mushrooms added, but works perfectly as a side dish when paired with some simple pan-grilled salmon.
This was meant to be Farro with Greens, Fennel and Chile but although I was positive I had a package of farro in the pantry, when I went to make this dish it was not to be found. (Maybe my resolution should be to clean and inventory my pantry?!) Although I think this dish would be delightful with nuttier, chewier farro as Henry intended, it will work with any of your favorite grains. It goes well with the freekeh I had in my cupboard and requires less cooking time than with the farro--always a bonus. I made a few other changes to the recipe--noted in red below.
Diana Henry says, "If you think healthy food is punishingly dull, try this. It's spicy, nutty, leafy, and glossy with olive oil. Delicious."
Freekeh with Greens, Fennel, and Chile
Adapted from Plenty by Diana Henry
4 Tbsp olive oil (I reduced to 2 Tbsp)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
(I added 2 medium fennel bulbs, finely chopped)
3/4 cup farro (I used freekeh)
about 3 cups chicken/veggie stock or water (I used 2 cups mixed veggie broth & water)
1 fresh red chile, seeded and chopped, (or to taste)
3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 small Savoy cabbage, (about 9 oz), leaves shredded (I used Napa cabbage)
3 oz frisée and arugula leaves (I used 4 oz baby arugula)
salt and pepper to taste
extra-virgin olive oil to serve
(I added about 1oz Marcona almonds, chopped)
Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion and celery (and fennel). Cook over medium heat until soft but not colored. Stir in the farro (freekeh) and a enough water to come about 1 1/2 inches above the level of the grain. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about 35 minutes (35 minutes for farro, about 20 minutes for freekeh) or until the grain is tender but with bite. Try not to stir; you don't want to release any starch. The liquid will be absorbed; if it gets too dry, add water.
Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan. Add chile, garlic and fennel seeds and cook for 2 minutes or until garlic is soft. Add the cabbage and a splash of water, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-low heat, until cabbage wilts. Uncover, add the other greens and wilt for about 1 minute. Add the cooked grain mixture, season well, increase the heat and stir.
To serve, place in a heated serving dish and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. (Top with chopped almonds or other nuts if desired.)
Notes/Results: A very pleasing dish, really a warm grain salad. I like the heartiness of the freekeh, mixed with the slight bitterness of the baby arugula and milder Napa cabbage. The bites of red chile, garlic, and fennel seed are a nice touch, as are the pieces of fennel I added. I felt like it needed a bit of crunch so I added a scattering of toasted Marcona almonds on top. Reducing the olive oil a bit reduces the calories and it wasn't missed--especially with the nuts on top. Besides enjoying it with the salmon, I stirred some chickpeas into the leftovers and ate them as more of a main dish. Healthy and tastes great--I would make it again.
This post is linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is Happy, Healthy!--good for you dishes that taste great and make your belly happy. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.
Have a Happy & Healthy 2015!