Flageolet Stew with Turkey and Farro

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Flageolet beans are among my favorite varieties of dried beans–  they’re small, green, and sturdy, and when cooked properly, remain soft and velvety on the inside.

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In addition, the scraps of turkey from yesterday’s turkey scaloppine that were not usable as scaloppine provided the meat for this dish.

The dish requires a little forethought, since the beans need to soak overnight.  The next day, I make the stew in stages, at my leisure.  The beans get boiled, then cooled in their liquid.  The farro gets boiled and set aside.   As the beans cook, they perfume the house with the aroma of cloves and bay leaves.   As the farro cooks, it adds a nutty aroma to the kitchen.

Later,  I make the base for the stew, sauteing the aromatics and turkey chunks.  I drain the beans, add bouillon cubes to the bean cooking liquid and add it back to the aromatics, as the base of the stew.

All is combined, and at the last moment, a couple handfuls of baby spinach are added to lighten the stew, and make it fit for a one-pot meal–absolutely delicious.

One pound of beans will easily serve 6 persons, but I prefer to think of it as three meals for two–the more the stew rests in the fridge, the better the flavor becomes on subsequent days.

Turkey and Flageolet Stew with Farro

serves 6 persons

1 lb dried flageolet beans, soaked overnight, then drained

6 bay leaves

3 whole cloves

3 tbls olive oil

1 carrot, peeled and diced

2 ribs celery, coarsely diced

1 large shallot or onion, coarsely diced

1 lb raw turkey meat, cut into cubes (may be light or dark meat)

2 plum tomatoes, peeled and coarsely diced

2 tbls tomato paste

bouillon cubes to taste (depending on the size and strength of your cubes)

1 piece of rind (2″ x 1″) from a piece of parmigiano cheese

1 c farro, boiled in salted water for about 30 minutes, drained, set aside, cooking liquid reserved.

1 package washed baby spinach leaves

salt and black pepper to taste

Place beans in cold water with 3 bay leaves and 3 whole cloves.

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Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat, partially covered for about 45 minutes, or until tender.  Remove the bay leaves and cloves.

Strain the bean cooking liquid into a bowl and add bouillon cubes to dissolve.

In a dutch oven large enough to hold the beans, combine the olive oil, carrot, celery, shallot, onion and saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until just beginning to turn tender.

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Add turkey meat and continue sauteing until the meat loses its pink color (not much browning necessary).

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Add enough bean cooking liquid to cover the beans and bring to a simmer.

Add the parmigiano rind, tomatoes and tomato paste and continue cooking on low heat for about 20 minutes.

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Add beans, farro, and more bean liquid, if a more soupy consistency is desired.

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If even more liquid is desired, add in some of the reserved cooking liquid from the farro.

Just prior to serving, fold in a package or bag of washed baby spinach and stir in to wilt.

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Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and grated cheese on top.

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