Arancini di farro

December 8, 2009 It resembles a cross between barley and Arborio rice (risotto). Its other name is Emmer wheat. When cooked, it is creamy and starchy like risotto, but, with a barley like flavor and texture. Arancini are a southern Italian specialty meaning "little oranges". This refers to their small, round shape. I like the idea of using farro for this twist on Hanukkah. We are paying respect to ancient traditions and using an ancient grain helps us to recall the culinary traditions of our past. Farro is now grown almost exclusively in Italy. Farro can be purchased in specialty health food stores, on-line and in Italian grocery stores.

8 ounces of farro
4-6 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup shredded braised short ribs or brisket (see recipe below) Shredded, leftover brisket works well for this
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley-chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme-chopped
3 eggs
2 cups bread crumbs
Extra Virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the farro under running water to remove any loose husks. Place the farro in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 4 cups of water and boil for 15 minutes. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook the farro until tender, thick and creamy (a wooden spoon should almost stand up in it), about 45 minutes. Salt and pepper the farro at this point. If the farro seems to "hard", add the remaining water and continue cooking until done. Remove the pan from the heat. Place the farro in a shallow dish. Cover the dish and refrigerate the farro until completely cold. Place the shredded meat in a bowl and add the parsley, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop the farro with a tablespoon and roll into a small ball. With your finger, push a small indentation into the ball. Place a small amount of the meat mixture into the farro and close the opening by rolling the ball between your palms. Set aside and continue until all the farro is used.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Place a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Heat the oil to approximately 350 degrees. Take a ball and dip it into the eggs, then roll it into the breadcrumbs.

Place the ball on a separate plate. When you have about 6-8 balls, place them into the oil and fry until golden brown. Remove the balls and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Continue with the rest of the balls. The arancini will stay crispy for several hours at room temperature.

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