Food & dining
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    Recipe for beet and mushroom ragout with toasted farro and poached eggs

    Serves 4

    This is a hearty dish perfect for a cold weather meal. Farro is available in Italian markets or by the pound at most supermarkets.


    1cup farro
    cups chicken stock
    Salt, to taste

    1. In a dry saucepan over medium heat, toast the farro, shaking the pan, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the grains become fragrant and golden.


    2. Add the stock and salt and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, lower the heat, and simmer the farro for 20 to 30 minutes or until it is tender.

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    2tablespoons olive oil
    1small onion, chopped
    1pound oyster mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    ½cup red wine
    2beets, peeled and cut
    into ¼-inch dice
    1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
    cups vegetable stock
    2teaspoons white or cider vinegar
    4eggs, cracked into 4 cups
    Extra sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped
    (for garnish)

    1. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the
    onions and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until softened. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until tender.

    2. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits in the pan, for 2 minutes. Add the beets, thyme, and stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the beets are tender when pierced with a skewer and the liquid has reduced. Add water to the pan during cooking if the liquid evaporates and the beets are not tender. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

    3. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the vinegar. With the end of a spoon, start stirring the water until it forms a vortex. Drop in the eggs, one at a time. Use the spoon to gently curl “tails” of egg onto their yolks. Lower the heat and simmer for 4 minutes or until the whites are firm (the yolks should be runny). Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Use scissors to trim off any spidery ends.


    4. Divide the farro among 4 shallow bowls. Top with the mushroom mixture and an egg. Sprinkle with thyme. Matt Barber