Photo: Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry pancakes from Carl’s Oxford Diner in Oxford, Massachusetts. The BIGGEST portions of food I’ve ever encountered in a diner. Also, Carl’s is essentially an ‘All you can Eat’ establishment. If you are ever able to actually finish one of their impossibly mammoth portions of omelets, waffles, links, etc. they will just place another plate of bacon or hot cakes in front of you. Proof!

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Carl’s Oxford Diner, 291 Main St Oxford, MA 01540

Recipe: Dirty Farro

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Ancient grains have been trending lately as healthier options than modern varieties, and besides being better for you, they actually taste great. For your consideration: Farro, the nutrition-packed grain from Mesopotamia that once fed Roman Legionaries. This ancestor of our current industrialized wheat is a nutty and delicious alternative to pastas and rice (and less expensive one compared to trendier grains like Quinoa). For the most nutritious “bang-for-your-buck,” always purchase whole farro which includes all the fiber and bran as opposed to “pearled farro.”

“Dirty Farro” Soak one or two cups of farro overnight in a big bowl of water in your fridge. When you are ready to cook, drain and rinse in a colander.  In a large pan fry some freshly made Italian or Andouille sausage with three ribs of celery, one half Spanish onion, and a bell pepper. Add a teaspoon of sweet paprika and another teaspoon of cumin. Fry until the sausage is browned and the onions are translucent.

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Combine your rinsed Farro and toss it with the cooked sausage and aromatics. Add a cup or two of black beans. Then add enough chicken or pork stock to cover all the ingredients of the pan and let this simmer down until the liquid evaporates. Salt and pepper to taste.

I must say, this recipe came out even better than I was expecting. The farro added much more texture, heartiness and flavor to this dish then your typical dirty rice. Try it out!

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