I like to pack lots of vegetables into grain-based dishes. In fact, you could say this is a vegetable-based dish with the added bonus of whole grains. Mushrooms and kale combine with farro for a filling one-pot meal that will make you forget that this is meat-free. Swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock to make it totally vegetarian.
It’s important to use pearled farro here, and not semi-pearled or regular farro. Using other types of farro will result in a cooking time well over the 20 minutes stated below.
This makes six servings, but also freezes well if you don’t have that many mouths to feed. —Leslie Engel
Test Kitchen Notes
I loved this recipe and I can see it becoming a staple in my winter cooking—it was filling, delicious, and I especially liked the addition of the greens. I used fresh mushrooms and arugula (instead of kale) from my local farmer’s market and used arborio (risotto) rice because that’s what I had on hand. I followed the recipe instructions (with a little extra stirring) and it was amazing! Using both dried and fresh mushrooms gave it a great flavor, and utilizing leftover mushroom "stock" was fantastic. I will definitely be making this again! —Emily Love
mixed dried mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced
Place dried mushrooms in a bowl and add 1 1/2 cups of hot water to cover. Set aside until mushrooms are soft, about 30 minutes. Drain mushrooms through a fine-mesh sieve, collecting the liquid in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Set mushroom liquid aside. Slice rehydrated mushrooms.
Warm chicken stock in a small pan or in the microwave.
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add fresh sliced mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until soft (but not mushy) and reduced by roughly half, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and place cooked mushrooms in a bowl.
Heat olive oil in the same pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add farro and stir to coat with oil, about one minute.
Add 3/4 cup of warmed chicken stock, allowing it to bubble away before adding the remaining stock. Unlike a risotto, you do not have to constantly stir the farro, but do keep an eye on it and stir as needed.
Once the stock has been absorbed, add the reserved mushroom liquid. When most of the mushroom liquid has been absorbed, add all the mushrooms (rehydrated and fresh) to the pan. Total cooking time until this point should be 20 minutes or less.
Add the kale and cook until it is bright green and wilted, about a minute or two. At this point most of the liquid should be absorbed. If not, turn up the heat slightly and continue stirring for an additional minute or two. Check the farro: It should be chewy, not crunchy.
Stir in the cheese and thyme, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with additional cheese and optional fresh chives as garnish.