The star ingredient of this dish is farro, an ancient Mediterranean grain I have come to adore. Farro has a wonderful, chewy texture and delicious nutty flavour. It has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs and is thought to have been a staple of the ancient roman’s diet. Now, it has slowly but surely been seeping into north american fine dining, and I am completely behind it. It can typically be found at natural food stores, and can of course be found online easily.
While I have been eating farro for a few years now, this was my first time baking it. About a month ago we were making a baked barley recipe, but we forgot to buy barley and thus replaced it with farro. It turned out delicious, and left me wanting more. So I decided to try my hand at making my own recipe. The liquid proportions took a lot of time to perfect, as the eggplant and mushrooms give off quite a bit of water. However, with that their wonderful flavour is baked right into the farro. This is a great, easy recipe to make on a weeknight. I hope you enjoy it!
Active time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 medium red onion
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped/diced
- 4 oz shiitake mushrooms
- 8 oz crimini
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ cups farro
- 2 cups mushroom broth
- 2-3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stems
- 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- Salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425. First we are going to want to soak some of the moisture from the eggplant. Cut it into relatively thick slices (we will be cutting it into cubes shortly), salt it and set it aside. Let it rest while we prep other ingredients.
- Now we will prep the rest of the vegetables. Dice the red onion and roughly chop the garlic. Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms. Cut both the shiitake mushrooms and the crimini into quarters.
- Heat a dutch oven on medium low heat. Add onion and garlic and pinch of salt and cook for 3-4 minutes. While this cooks, pat dry your eggplant and proceed to dice it into cibe. Once the onion has started to become a bit translucent add the eggplant, mushrooms and thyme and another pinch of salt.
- After 5-6 minutes, add the farro, the 2 cups of vegetable and a generous amount of black pepper and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Once boiling, cover the dutch oven and put it in the oven.
- Check on it after 30 minutes. The liquid should be mostly absorbed and the farro should be nice and tender. Add in the sun dried tomatoes and mix in. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust. Serve hot and enjoy!