Friday, November 27, 2015

Turkey Farro Salad with Candied Chickpeas

Last Year's Post: Couscous with Turkey or Chicken
Two Years Ago:   Turkey & Pomegranate Salad

I happen to think that turkey is highly under-rated as an every day meat as opposed to a special occasion meat.  It's cheap, healthy, readily available, and kids and adults like it equally.  Maybe one problem is the sheer volume of leftovers when you cook an entire turkey, but these days you can buy a split turkey breast or even turkey tenderloins.  These two turkey tenderloins weighed .60 lb, cost $3.29, and will feed four people as part of this recipe.  Not bad.

Of course, this is also a great recipe if you have leftover turkey and is a total change from a big heavy holiday dinner.  The salad is light but complex with fresh greens, chewy farro, fresh and dried fruits, creamy blue cheese, and candied chickpeas in addition to the turkey.  I really liked the candied chickpeas because they have a hint of sweetness and a hint of spice from the pepper.  But if you don't want to go to the bother of roasting them, substitute sweet/spicy nuts of any type that are coarsely chopped, or even plain roasted pecans or walnuts.  The chickpeas are interesting but nuts will have more crunch.

Speaking of substitutions, if you don't happen to have farro any other chewy grain will work - bulgur, quinoa, wheatberries, or even wild rice.  You can also substitute fresh clementines that are peeled and cut up instead of mandarin oranges, but I just happen to like mandarin oranges.  And you could add some kale to the lettuce, or substitute it entirely.

Cook the turkey in advance and place the tenderloins and pan juices in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator for an hour or so.  The juices get reabsorbed and the turkey will cut perfectly.  If you also make the farro and candied chickpeas in advance, this becomes a really fast meal to pull together any day of the week.

Turkey Farro Salad with Candied Chickpeas
Serves 4

1/2 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
¼  cup olive oil plus 1 ½ tablespoons, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 turkey tenderloins (1 pound total) or leftover cooked turkey
½ cup uncooked farro
1 ½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large Gala, Braeburn, or Honeycrisp apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 romaine hearts, chopped (8 cups)
1 can mandarin oranges (drained), or 2 fresh clementines, peeled and cut up
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 ounce high-quality blue cheese, crumbled (1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Drain and rinse beans, then spread on a kitchen towel to dry thoroughly. Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper and spread beans in a single layer in pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar, ½ tablespoon of oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper; stir to coat beans evenly. Roast for 50 minutes or until amber colored, stirring twice for even browning. Remove and cool in pan.

Sprinkle poultry seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt over turkey. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and add turkey. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until done (165 degrees F), turning occasionally to brown evenly.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan bring farro and broth to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer according to package directions until tender but chewy. Drain off any liquid; cool.

In a small bowl or jar, add the lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil, mustard and ¼ teaspoon salt.  Whisk (or shake the jar) until blended.

When ready to serve, thinly slice the turkey.  Add apples and romaine to a large bowl and add enough dressing to coat, then toss gently. Transfer salad to a platter or plates. Arrange turkey, farro, and chickpeas over greens. Top with oranges, cranberries, and blue cheese.

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