Warm Autumn Farro Salad with Chicken Sausage, Spinach, & Apples

Ok, so maybe I’m late to the game here, but we just discovered farro – an ancient grain that is hearty and nutty and absolutely delicious!

I had to know more and here is what I found out; the bad news; traditional farro is a bit finicky and requires overnight soaking before a long cooking process. The good news; pearled farro –sometimes seen as “farro pearlato” -  is a ready-to-use grain that only needs 10-12 minutes in boiling water and then is drained like pasta (no possibly burning pots, like some other grains). The great news; Trader Joe’s sells pouches of pearled farro (their label says 10-minute farro), and it’s reasonably priced and nearly always available in their store!

Well I am hooked! I have used farro a few times as a side dish, but I really wanted to make it the star of the meal. That is where this recipe comes in. Jeweled with tart pomegranate seeds, this dish is just the epitome of fall in my opinion. 

Warm Autumn Farro Salad with Chicken Sausage, Spinach, & Apples

1 package Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro
1 lb chicken sausage (preferably sweet apple variety)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small apples, diced
1-2 tsp poultry seasoning (based on preference)
2 cups baby spinach
½ c chicken stock
½ c apple cider
the seeds from 1 pomegranate (optional)

1.  Cook the farro according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2.  While the farro is cooking, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes, or until a crisp, brown crust develops.
3.  Add onion, garlic, apples, and spices. Cook about 5 minutes more, until onion is translucent.
4.  Add spinach and cook until wilted.
5.  Add chicken stock and cider and stir to scrape up browned bits from pan. Add farro and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about ten minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Just before plating, stir in the pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately. 

Notes: The pomegranate seeds, although a pleasant touch, are not required. Feel free to skip them! My husband really likes a little drizzle of maple balsamic dressing on his salad (this is our favorite). This dish re-heats surprisingly well, but it's so tasty that you may not have any left over!

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