Thursday, April 7, 2011

Creamy Strawberry Farro Porridge

If you haven't yet jumped on the farro bandwagon, here's a great recipe to start with!  Farro is an ancient grain which was, perhaps, among the first cultivated crops in the fertile crescent.  Its relatively low yield (compared with wheat and other grains) caused it to fall out of favor over time, but farro remains popular in Italy and has received a lot of attention lately in food-nerd and health-nut circles across the country.  It has a soft, chewy texture and a richly complex and nutty flavor.

Although farro usually plays a role in savory dishes, I am just crazy about having it for a sweet and tangy breakfast!  This recipe uses a little coconut milk to make the porridge rich and creamy (although whole milk would work well, too).  The strawberries fall apart in the heat to give the dish a gorgeous pink hue and a sweet tanginess.  To round out the flavors, I like to drizzle a little balsamic cream over the top.  It may sound a little weird, but trust me...  strawberries and balsamic vinegar go together like peanut butter and chocolate.  If you don't have balsamic cream you can either make a homemade balsamic reduction (just lightly simmer balsamic vinegar with a little bit of cornstarch until it thickens) or just use some good, thick balsamic all by itself. 

Creamy Strawberry Farro Porridge
serves 4

1 cup farro
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 10 oz package frozen strawberries (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup brown sugar
balsamic cream (optional)

In a medium saucepan over high heat, add farro, water and salt and bring to a boil.  Cook, uncovered, until about 1/2 the water is absorbed (about 10 minutes) then add the coconut milk and strawberries and stir well.  Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for about 15 to 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender and chewy and the porridge reaches a creamy consistency.  Add brown sugar and mix with a wooden spoon.  Use the spoon to smash any remaining whole strawberries into smaller pieces.

Remove from heat.  Drizzle each serving with the balsamic cream (or some good balsamic vinegar) and serve immediately.

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