Serves six to eight
8 ounces dried fava beans (not split fava, but skin-on; see headnote)
One 2-pound boneless beef chuck roast
4½ teaspoons kosher salt
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1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
12 ounces uncooked farro (a generous 2 cups)
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons tomato paste
10 pitted prunes
Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks (may substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
5 cups water, at room temperature
1. Place the fava beans in a bowl and cover with water to soak overnight. Drain.
2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Have a narrow, deep ovenproof pot with a tightfitting lid at hand; the food should fit in snugly. The pot should be about 9 inches across, with a capacity of a little over 4 quarts.
3. Use paper towels to pat the meat dry. Season all over with 1 teaspoon of the salt and ½ teaspoon of the pepper.
4. Heat the oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the meat and sear for about three minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
5. Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion and stir to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the onion has softened and picked up some color. Remove the pot from the heat.
6. Add the farro, fava beans, the remaining 3½ teaspoons of kosher salt and the remaining teaspoon of pepper, the nutmeg and cardamom; mix well. Stir in the tomato paste and prunes until well incorporated.
7. Push the farro mixture to one side so you can return the seared beef to the pot alongside it. Place the cinnamon sticks on top of the meat.
8. Add the water, which should just about cover what’s in the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; skim off and discard any foam that rises to surface. Remove from the heat.
9. Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil, then seal with the pot’s lid. Slow-cook in the oven for eight hours or overnight. Uncover and taste for seasoning. Discard the cinnamon sticks. Serve hot; or cool completely, cover and refrigerate for a day or two.
Nutritional information per serving (based on eight): 480 calories, 36 g protein, 55 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 1190 mg sodium, 13 g dietary fiber, 7 g sugar
Adapted by The Washington Post from Washington D.C. caterer Vered Guttman