Monday, December 1, 2014

Fall Farro Bowl with Sausage, Yogurt and Apple Gastrique

Did you have as indulgent a Thanksgiving as we did? If so, you might want a break from rich, calorie-dense holiday foods before we get into the December stretch of holiday parties and gatherings. This farro bowl should fit that bill perfectly.

I loaded this recipe with my favorite roasted fall vegetables: Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. Combined with farro, a hearty wheat grain, onions and celery and andoullie sausage, it makes a satisfying, hearty meal. But I felt it needed something more to pull it all together.

Inspiration came from a discussion with a coworker who had recently spent a long weekend in Richmond. While there, she had eaten at The Daily Kitchen and raved about the restaurant's fried Brussels sprouts. I looked it up and found they were serving their sprouts with an apple gastrique.

For the uninitiated, a gastrique is a sweet and sour reduction sauce made with sugar and vinegar, as well as sometimes wine and other ingredients, like fruit. Traditionally, the sugar is first caramelized. As much as I love caramel, I didn't feel the need for that flavor here, so I went with a reduced sugar sauce. Of the gastrique recipes I looked at for ideas, some caramelized the sugar and others didn't.

What you end up with here is more like a sweet and sour applesauce, which was perfect for this dish. I used an immersion blender to puree the sauce until it was very smooth.

Making an apple gastrique

Fall Farro Bowl with Sausage, Yogurt and Apple Gastrique

1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 cup farro perlato (pearled), rinsed
2 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 granny smith apple
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. apple brandy
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
12 oz. turkey andoullie sausage (already cooked), cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
Zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1. Preheat oven to 475 F. Toss butternut squash with 1 tbsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, stir squash and roast an additional 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

2. Lower the oven temperature to 400 F. Preheat oven to 400 F. Put cut sprouts in a large bowl, drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and season with a pinch of salt, then spread on a baking sheet, flipping any sprouts over so the cut-side is down. Roast for 35 minutes until golden brown in places. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

3. Combine the farro and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes until the farro is tender but still chewy. Drain off any excess water and sed aside.

4. Make the gastrique:  melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the apples, stir to coat with butter and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar, apple brandy, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender.

5. Heat remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the sliced sausage, roasted butternut squash, roasted Brussel sprouts, cooked farro and apple gastrique and toss to combine and reheat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Stir together the yogurt and lemon zest.

7. Serve the grain mixture in a shallow bowl topped with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds.

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