Chef Bob Hurley at Hurley’s Restaurant @HurleysRest provided the inspiration for this dish. He introduced me to Farro a number of years ago when he occasionally featured it in his dinner specials. A super grain, Farro provides dense nutrition and can be easily classified as a whole grain product. A ½ cup serving provides about 170 calories, 5 grams fiber and 6 grams protein. Its lower on the glycemic index than other refined grains. Many recipes call for soaking the farro for an extended period of time to soften it. In this recipe I prepare it as one would arborio rice, resulting in an al dente texture.
Bob also provided me with some knowledge of wild game preparation. Known far and wide across the valley, Bob Hurley’s Wild Game Week in November is a timeless tradition. Bison is an exceptionally lean meat. As such, it is best served rare to medium rare. Healthier than most beef, Bison lacks any perceptible “gamey” flavor. Surprise your friends by breaking Bison out at the next BBQ.
The flavors of our 2009 Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc pair splendidly with both Bison and Farro. The acidity helps balance out the richness of the chicken stock & Pecorino cheese used in the Farro dish.
1.5 cups Farro (available at a well stocked speciality foods store such as Berkeley Bowl or Whole Foods)
3-4 cups dark chicken stock
1 cup red wine
2 shallots, finely diced
5 crimini mushroom, finely sliced
1 bunch dino kale (stalks removed, loosely chopped)
2-3 oz Pecorino Romano
EVOO as needed (2-4 tablespoons)
Bison steaks- Portion is up to you. I prefer to use steaks about the size of a deck of cards, perhaps just a bit thicker.
Cast Iron Skillet - KEY as it heats up well and holds the heat.
0) Pull the Bison out of the fridge and allow to come up in temperature a bit.
1) In a large saute pan on medium heat brown the shallots. Once the edges start browning add the mushrooms and cook until browned.
2) Add the farro to the pan. Cook until a warm toasty aroma comes about. Be careful not to burn it!
3) Add the wine to the pan to de-glaze. Reduce until all of the liquid is absorbed.
4) Start with ½ of the chicken stock and add it to the pan. Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to add stock until until ⅓ of a cup remains.
5) Add the dino kale and the last of the remaining chicken stock and continue cooking.
6) When the kale has wilted, remove from the heat and shred the Pecorino over the top. Fold into the dish (Folding in a few tablespoons of butter will increase the richness of the dish). Season with S&P TT Set aside.
7) Season the bison with S&P while heating the cast iron skillet over medium high to high heat You’re going to want the pan to be smoking when you add the EVOO.
8) Sear the bison for a few minutes on each side. You’re wanting to have a good crust on each side while the inside comes to a perfect medium rare.
Center the “risotto” in the center of the plate. You can shred a bit more cheese over the top. Slice the bison against the grain and present the strips so they rest on one side of the “risotto”. Pair with the 2009 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Cabernet Franc. Enjoy!