Thanksgiving Side Dish Idea: Low-Gluten Farro pilaf w/ Carrots, Celery, Leeks and Chicken Sausage

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Happy Friday before Thanksgiving to all!! As everyone prepares for the upcoming holiday ahead, we usually have our main courses covered… turkey, chicken, roast beef or maybe lamb if you’re Greek like me and can’t pass up a holiday without lamb. It’s usually the SIDE dishes that have all of our panties in a twist, figuring out just WHAT the heck to make that’s yummy and thanksgiving-y. Well, since I will be cooking a few of the side dishes this upcoming Thanksgiving, I thought I would get started early “practicing” some ideas this week, This way I would have a plethora of fool proof ideas to choose from, and you, reader, will get some ideas on what to make come next Thursday as well! The question then became, “where do I start?”. After scouring the Food and Wine archives for some ideas, I came across a farro soup recipe that I thought looked great, but bookmarked for another meal, another day.  I continued to scour the web, but that farro recipe kept creeping back into my train of thought…until I couldn’t shake the farro fever. I then recalled one of my favorite dishes at Oddfellow’s here in Dallas: a farro salad with the freshest, most delicious veggies that holds such merit in my belly that I have even picked it over their buffalo mac and cheese come ordering time. Well, maybe once. Crazy, I know! Anyways, the wheels in my brain started turning, and I then came up with this Thanksgiving side dish idea that’s rustic, original, and so delicious you would never know it was “good for you”. I present to you my chicken sausage & veggie farro side dish.  It’s highly addictive…but who cares?? Edit: While farro is low in gluten, it is NOT glute free. Good for those watching their gluten, but not for the gluten- intolerant. That tricky little bastard. That is all. Enjoy the recipe. The end.

 

(Serves 4-6/ Difficulty: Easy)

 

You’ll need:

-2 sausage links of hot Italian chicken sausage, skins removed (we used Central Market sausage, but any high-quality sausage is great)

-1 tbs sun dried tomato paste

-5 tbs olive oil, for sautéing

– ½ cup dry white wine

-1 cup chopped organic carrot

-1 cup chopped celery root

-small handful chopped celery leaves

-1 large leek, chopped

-2 cloves garlic, finely minced

-1 tsp dried thyme

-2 cups farro

-3 cups chicken broth

-1 cup whole milk

– ½ cup pecorino romano cheese

-pinch of chopped parsley

-salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the farro and the whole milk, then bring back up to a boil. Reduce to a slow boil, on medium heat, and cook until the farro has soaked up almost all of the liquid, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan with some olive oil, sauté the leeks, carrots, and celery for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken sausage and garlic, and sauté for another 5 minutes, browning the sausage.

Pour in the white wine, stirring and scraping up the cooked bits from the bottom.

Add the tomato paste, celery leaves and thyme, and cook for another 15 minutes or so, adding a tablespoon or 2 of the broth the farro is cooking in to thicken the sauce.

Finally, once the farro is cooked, combine with the sausage sauce, pecorino, parsley, and some extra salt and pepper.

 

Serve warm.

 

 

 

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