Farro with Beets, Feta and Pecans

Summary:  This is the fall season in a dish. A delicious grain (farro) plus a veggie (roasted gold beets), cheese (feta), nut (maple-glazed pecans) and a fresh herb dressing (chive-sage oil). Absolutely wonderful, fresh, healthy and pretty! 
*This was chosen as a Wildcard Win on Food52.

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 gold beets
  • 1¾ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup farro
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • dash cayenne
  • a piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 385° Fahrenheit. Wash and trim (but don't peel) the beets, and wrap them individually in foil or place them snugly in a small baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Cook 35-45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool until you can peel them. Chop into 1/2" cubes and reserve.

In the meantime, pour the broth into a 2 quart saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. When it's boiling, pour in the cup of farro, and cook until just on the tender side of al dente, 15-25 minutes. Drain and reserve.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan until very warm. Remove from heat and add the chopped chives and sage as well as 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, the lemon juice and at least 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk together and then let rest until you need it.

In a small skillet set over medium heat, put the pecans. When the skillet is warm, pour in the maple syrup and the dash of cayenne. Stir continuously until the pecans are evenly coated and the syrup is bubbling nicely. Pour onto the sprayed sheet of foil and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, toss together the cooked farro, chopped beets, the crumbled feta, and pecans. Whisk the herbed oil dressing again and pour it over the farro salad. Stir gently until well combined, taste and add more salt if needed.