Farro with Roasted Beets, Mint and Walnuts
2 medium sized beets
5 cups water
1 cup Farro (or semi-pearled barley), rinsed and picked over
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (at 350 for about 7 minutes)
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. (or to your liking) white balsamic vinegar or other light vinegar
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To clean the beets, trim the stems, leaving about an inch. Leave the roots or tails intact. Wash thoroughly in cold water. Place in a baking pan or small dutch oven in one layer and add enough water for about a half inch (about 1/2 cup). Seal tightly with foil or a well-fitting lid. Roast, fully covered, for about 1 hour for medium sized beets. They are done when a fork or skewer easily pierces one through. Remove, reserving the beet juice in the pan, and let cool to serving temperature.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring water, farro and 1 tsp salt to a boil, uncovered. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until farro is tender and water is absorbed, about 40-45 minutes. Drain. Place cooked farro in a medium sized bowl.
When beets have cooled, cut off a bit of the root and stem ends and gently remove the skin with your fingers. Dice beets and toss them, the beet juice from the pan, walnuts, mint, oil and vinegar into the farro. Gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.
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