It’s that time of year again! that time when I slave away in the kitchen, meticulously plan my Thanksgiving menu and harrass my mother for weeks on end to order a free-range, locally grown turkey on time. Then I pack my cookbooks and my knives and a springform pan and fly to my family’s house in Northern Michigan, and get all knee-deep in Thanksgiving for a few days. For reals- this is the most wonderful time of the year. #FACT.
In preparation for the Big Day, I’ve been testing and retesting recipes to try out on my unsuspecting, good-sport family members this year. And guess who gets to reap the benefits? Yes, my little nerds and nerdlets- I mean you. Behold: Omeletta’s 5 Great New Thanksgiving Recipes, a tradition of recipe-collecting I started last year, and one I hope to carry on for many to come.
First up on the list? This un-freaking-believable Pomegranate, Kale and Farro Salad with Spicy-Sugared Bacon. It is the creme de la creme of late-Fall salads, the milk to my coffee and the cheese to my everything. The textures match beautifully together, and the spicy-sweet heat of the bacon works that chewy farro and tart pom arils like nobody’s business. It’s my favorite recipe from the year so far, and I may be blowing it by coming out with a bang on the first day, but who cares- this is not a time of year for belt-tightening.
In other words, time to put on your fat pants. It’s Thanksgiving!
Pomegranate, Farro and Kale Salad with Spicy-Sugared Bacon
5-6 strips of bacon
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 packed diced kale leaves, stems
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup pomegranate arils (see note)
½ cup cooked farro grains (see note)
Heat the oven to 350*F. Layer the baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil, and spread the bacon evenly on the pan. Mix the brown sugar and chili powder together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly on top of the bacon, coating it as much as possible. Bake the bacon for 10-12 minutes or until crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Toss the kale leaves with the olive oil and salt and massage the leaves as much as possible- I like to take small handfuls of leaves in my hands and rub them vigorously, until all the leaves have been rubbed soft.
Once the bacon has cooled, dice it finely and toss with the kale. Add the pomegranate arils and the cooked farro and toss together. Season with lemon and salt if desired, and serve.
This salad will keep overnight- and possibly up to two days- if covered tightly and kept cold in the refrigerator.
Pomegranate Note: How to remove the arils from the pomegranate and not have your kitchen look like a crime scene from splattering red juice:
Slice the pom in half. Fill a bowl with fresh, cold water, and while holding the pom under the water, break one half open and remove the seeds. The pith will float to the top, and the seeds will sink to the bottom. Remove the seeds and they will keep chilled for up to one week.
Farro Note: Cook the farro according the the instructions on the box. Typically, farro is cooked similar to pasta- heavily salt the water prior to adding the farro, and cook until the farro is chewy and al dente, and cooked all the way through. Drain and serve; cooked farro keeps exceptionally well; store in the fridge covered, like rice, for up to four or five days.