Saturday, November 26, 2011

Farro with spinach and sausage

A while back I decided to try my hand at making homemade sausages; something I'd never tried before even though I've had my sausage maker attachment for my Kitchenaid for nearly two years now. I was lucky enough to find a local supplier for hog casings, but you can also order them online as well. For my first recipe I tried pork sausage, but was disappointed in the salt content in a sausage pre-mix I had purchased. Gads were they salty!! The second batch I decided to try my own blend--much much better. And I learned to make a small patty and cook it firstly to sample the seasoning level in them before I start filling my casings now. From then on I've been making sausage nearly every two to three weeks.. Italian sweet, fennel, cheese and garlic and hot, chicken sausage, and seasoned lamb sausage.

I'm just getting over a bad bout of pneumonia, so little cooking was done around here except for soups, soups, and more soups once I got home. When I did feel well enough to do some cooking, I decided to make an old favorite that's very easy to prepare, and really tasty. I should forewarn you though, this dish will soon become a family favorite for casual suppers on these cool, wintry evenings. Use cremini or shiitake mushrooms in place of the buttons, if you like. We managed to get our late sowing of spinach into the garden just in the nick of time and now, deeply mulched under salt marsh hay I have some awesome spinach right at my fingertips. I've also made this dish using fresh kale or chard as well. It's all good in my book.

Farro with Spinach & Sausage

2 TBLS olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups farro
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 links sweet Italian pork sausage, removed from casings
3/4 cup red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
2 cups fresh baby spinach
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 TBLS chopped oregano

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add farro and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and toasted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and farro is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1/2 TBLS olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up into small chunks with a spatula, until almost cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, toss well and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove skillet from the heat and stir in spinach until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir parsley, oregano, salt and pepper into pot with farro, then spoon onto plates. Top with sausage-mushroom mixture and serve hot. Enjoy!