In honor of the farmers, fishermen, foragers, brewers and other workers responsible for the bounty on our Thanksgiving tables, Voracious this year asked local food producers to provide their favorite holiday recipes. We'll run one recipe each day through Nov. 23; if you collect them all, you'll have a complete Thanksgiving feast.
Corn and winter wheat are the typical Thanksgiving grains, but Bluebird Grain Farms' Brooke Lucy believes there's room on the table for emmer farro, her farm's signature product.
"Even though it's not traditional to the last 70 years of Thanksgiving, it's part of our larger history," Lucy says. "It's the grain the first bread was made of. And it's going to add tremendous flavor to whatever you're baking."
The Lucies use emmer in a sausage stuffing that's appeared on the family's holiday table for the past two years.
"It really works well," Lucy says. "It's a great recipe."
Lucy and her husband Sam have been farming for close to two decades; they launched the Bluebird Grains line eight years ago. The couple discovered emmer while working in soil reclamation.
"We used grains to build soil tilth and outperform weeds," she says. Their method called for tilling the plants underground when they reached the ten-inch mark, but they decided to let a strain of emmer grow for a full cycle. Although the grain was once central to European cooking, "you couldn't find it in the United States," Lucy recalls. "You couldn't purchase it. It wasn't grown."
Bluebird Grain Farms now sells its whole grains, flours and cereals at supermarkets across Seattle and the Ballard Farmers Market on Sundays.
Lucy describes the emmer stuffing, developed by nutritionist Acacia Larson, as "just awesome."
"It's a very hearty stuffing," she says. "It's not light."
Emmer "Cornbread" and Sausage Stuffing
¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 medium onions, halved and sliced ¼" thick
1 ½ Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 large cloves garlic, minced
¼ Cup dry sherry or white wine
1 ½ Cups chicken or vegetable broth
¼ Cup butter
1 lemon (zest)
1 large carrot, peeled & diced
2 eggs, beaten
3 celery stalks, diced
1/3 Cup chopped fresh parsley
9 oz. Sausage links (fully cooked: andouille, chicken, kielbasa), diced
Emmer cornbread (see below)
1 Cup Bluebird Emmer Farro, cooked (see below)
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion slices and sprinkle with the salt. Stir frequently for 1-2 minutes, until the onions start to turn translucent. Turn heat down to medium-low, and stir occasionally for about 25 minutes, until onions are golden and caramelized. Add sherry to the pan and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Pour onions into a bowl and set aside.
Place the sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter to melt. Add the carrot, celery, sausage, shallot and rosemary. Cook for 2 minutes, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the broth and cook for an additional 2 minutes to heat through.
Crumble the Emmer cornbread into a large bowl and add the cooked farro. Use a microplane or the small holes on a grater to grate the zest from the lemon over the bowl. Pour the sausage mixture over the bread mixture, then pour in the eggs and parsley. Stir gently to combine the ingredients. Pour stuffing into a large rimmed half-sheet pan or casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, until the top is crispy.
¼ Cup unsalted butter
1 Cup Bluebird Emmer Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Cup Bluebird Cracked Emmer
¾ Cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ Cup milk
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place an 8-inch cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-low heat and add the butter to melt.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the Emmer flour, Cracked Emmer, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir with a fork to blend.
In a small mixing bowl combine the buttermilk, milk and eggs. Whisk with a fork to blend. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to mix gently just until most of the dry ingredients are incorporated (it's OK if there are a few dry streaks - you don't want to over mix this.) When the butter has melted, pour in the batter and gently spread it toward the edges in an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes, until golden on top.
1 Cup Bluebird Emmer Farro
5 Cups water
½ Teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Place the farro, water and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes. Drain excess water.
Lucy serves her stuffing as a side dish, but says the mix can be used to stuff a turkey or squash halves.