Elk is perhaps our family’s favorite game meat, provided this year by our god father’s fall hunting expedition and made more delicious with Hank’s Harvest Foods processing into delicious, sweet sausage. This extremely low-fat sausage lends marvelous flavor to emmer farro, grown locally by friends at Bluebird Grain Farms. Roasted root vegetables and onions mixed in with a touch of olive oil and garnished with fresh thyme and almonds round out the mixture so that each bite is balanced and delectable.
The key to quality in this recipe is preparation of each ingredient separately and with care to detail. Cutting root veggies into consistent bite sized pieces and roasting carefully so that each chunk is done through yet not over-cooked is essential. Similarly, chopping onions into even pieces and browning over a well tended sauté matters as much as cooking the emmer farro so that the grain is not mushy but cooked to it’s ideal popping, chewy texture.
This hot grain dish needs no dressing with its many natural flavors and is ideal as a winter one-pot meal. All food groups are covered, but the best of the dish is most certainly the elk meat, seasoned mildly, but to perfection by our local butchers.
Hot Farro with Elk Sausage and Root Vegetables Recipe
2 1/2 c whole grain emmer farro (1 package)
1 lb elk sausage (buttermilk or sweet works best)
1 T butter
2 small yams or 1 large, peeled and chopped in 1 ” pieces
4-6 parsnips, peeled and chopped in 1 ” pieces
2 medium onions, chopped in 1 ” pieces
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 c roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
4-6 T fresh thyme leaves
Salt (preferable sea) and pepper (preferably fresh ground)
~Set oven to 400 degrees.
~Begin with a careful roasting process of vegetables; place parsnips and yams in a large bowl, drizzle with 2 T olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and mix to coat well; spread veggies on baking trays, evenly spaced and roast until barely soft pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes; remove from oven and let cool on pans.
~Leave oven on to quickly roast whole almonds; cool, then chop and set aside.
~Place emmer farro in a large sauce pot covered with at least three times water to grain and bring to a boil, adding a pinch of salt; simmer 5 minutes uncovered, then turn down heat to low, cover and simmer for about 50-55 minutes or until farro is soft and chewy but not mushy (berries should pop as you chew); when done, drain and return to pot, mixing in 2 remaining T olive oil.
~While farro simmers, saute onions in olive oil with a bit of butter, salt and pepper, consistently watched and turned until fragrant and browning; set aside.
~In the same sauté pan, brown elk sausage with an additional bit of butter; I found it helpful to cut the sausage in small pieces because unlike beef burger which crumbles and separates easily when browning with all its fat, elk is so lean that it benefits from pre-separation; this also ensures consistent sizes of meat pieces for the final dish.
~Stir onions, almonds and elk sausage into farro first; add root vegetables and carefully combine, so as not to smash them; season to taste with salt and pepper; serve hot garnished with fresh thyme.
~This is a large recipe, made for approximately 12 servings and is easily halved for a smaller group.
Love from our kitchen to yours, Georgina @ Soul & Stomach