the wonders of farro: chard and white bean soup with farro and spring vegetables

I think farro is my new favorite whole grain. I tried it this past winter at Café La Haye in Sonoma, served underneath quail with a port jus. it's tender and mild but not too bland, with a very satisfying, round texture -- and it works wonderfully in soup. this week, I made a chard and white bean soup with farro and spring vegetables -- sort of a mashup of different Italian soup recipes.

I used:
  • 1 scant tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I like Olio Beato, an organic oil from Italy)
  • 1 spring onion, diced fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced purple turnip
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-2 in. pieces
  • 2 cups cannellini beans (either cooked or canned)
  • 4 cups broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch green or red chard, rinsed and chopped (you can add the stalks in separately if you like -- toss them in with the green beans)
  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • fresh fennel tops (chop up the feathery bits)
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • dried thyme (to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • parmesan or grada padano (freshly grated)
I cooked the farro separately for about 10 minutes in a pot of boiling water, then set it aside. Meanwhile, I sauteed the onions and garlic in the olive oil, then added the celery and turnips. When these softened, I added in the 4 cups of stock (homemade vegetable stock, but bouillion or chicken stock would work as well), brought the soup to a boil, and turned it down to simmer. Then I threw in the green beans and let them cook a few minutes, then added the additional water, returned the pot to a boil, and stirred in the chard.

Once the chard turned a bright green and became tender, I added in the cooked farro and beans, and simmered for a few more minutes to make sure the farro were tender and the beans warmed through. I also added the fennel, parsley and thyme, and lastly salt and fresh grated pepper to taste.

Serve with grated parmesan or grada padano, and a little olive oil. Or toast a few chunks of bread with parmesan or oil and serve the soup over the croutons.

1 comment:

mary said...

Speaking of Olive Oils -
Have you yet tried Da Vero? It's fantastic (and relatively local).