Tip: Many fresh or dried mushroom varieties will nicely complement chewy, nutty grains like the farro in this recipe. If you are fortunate to have fresh morels in the spring, this is just one delicious way to serve them; however, even rehydrated dried morels or other wild mushrooms will add an earthy flavor to this hearty dish. Some mushrooms are much more expensive than others, so mix and match as you prefer for budget and flavor.
1 cup dry farro
1 large carrot
1 stalk celery
1 clove fresh garlic
4 oz artichoke hearts, thawed slightly (I buy frozen from Trader Joe’s)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
3 cups high-quality chicken or vegetable broth
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 oz dried morels or other dried wild mushrooms
Warm water to rehydrate mushrooms
1-2 Tbsp butter
Soak dried mushrooms in about 2 1/2 cups of warm water for 15-20 minutes. When rehydrated, drain, pat dry with paper towels and cut larger mushrooms (if needed) to match size of smaller mushrooms. Set aside.
Rinse farro with cold water in a strainer; set aside to drain.
Wash and dry vegetables.
Peel carrot; peel tough strings from celery stalk; trim root and coarse greens from scallions; remove papery layer from garlic.
Dice carrot, celery and scallion; mince garlic. Hold on cutting board.
If artichoke hearts are large, cut in half from leaf to root end for narrow strips.
If broth is chilled, warm it slightly and set aside until needed.
Melt butter in heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or deep skillet that has a matching lid available. Sauté mushrooms, moving them just enough so they don’t stick or burn, until they are slightly caramelized. Remove from pan onto a holding plate.
Pour olive oil into hot pan, then add carrots, celery, scallions and garlic. Sauté and stir vegetables for just a minute or two, then add drained farro and stir together. Pour in white wine and simmer until about half has evaporated. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the pilaf will simmer for about 30 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the farro is cooked but still firm to the bite. Use a lid to cover the pilaf at the beginning, but check now and then to be sure the liquid is just simmering and not boiling. About 5 minutes before the pilaf is finished, taste for seasoning and add S&P as needed. Immediately follow with the artichoke hearts and the sautéed mushrooms and stir lightly.
Serve warm with grilled meat* or crunchy dark salad greens and crusty bread.
*Photo includes grilled brined pork chop with fig & orange compote.