Thursday, July 12, 2012

Five-Spice Roasted Sweet Potato and Farro with Balsamic Reduction

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Right now, the best deal at Milk Pail is the 99 cents for four pounds of sweet potatoes. FOUR POUNDS! It's not really sweet potato season, but who can pass up on this deal? I did something super simple to bring out the natural warmness and sweetness of the sweet potato. The five-spice powder consists of fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorn. These spices really compliment the warm creaminess of roasted sweet potatoes. The Balsamic reduction brightens and sweetens and the chewy nuttiness of the farro brings out its earthiness. It's got great balance and makes for a simple, nutritious side dish.

For this recipe, you will need:
  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and diced to 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups cooked farro (if you don't have farro, short grain brown rice would be great here too)
  • 1 tablespoon of five-spice powder
  • 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • chopped green onion or chives for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss sweet potato and five spice powder with olive oil. Make sure the sweet potato is well coated with spices and olive oil. Spread out in an oven proof dish and roast for 30-45 minutes. Gently stir at the half way point. The edges should be browned and the center should be creamy. Remove and set aside to cool. Mix roasted sweet potato with cooked farro.

In a medium non-stick pan, bring Balsamic vinegar to boil, then turn heat to medium low so that the mixture is just simmer. Slowly reduce until the vinegar becomes thickened and syrupy. It should be about 1/3 of it's original volume and thick like molasses. When ready to serve, drizzle balsamic reduction on top of roasted sweet potato and farro mixture and garnish with chopped green onion or chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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