With more rain in the forecast, I wanted to share this hearty, healthy soup that I created recently. Lately I’ve been enjoying cooking down the pantry (my version of spring cleaning) and utilizing the vegetables from my beloved Eatwell Farm CSA box to make simple meals. This one was inspired by a recipe in the Zuni Café Cookbook that used leftover farro cooked with porcinis to make a porridge-like soup. Quantities are somewhat loose as I didn’t measure. Feel free to double this, as it’s better the next day.
Keeping quarts of homemade chicken broth in the freezer (made from a mixture of roasted carcasses and fresh heads, feet, and necks from Soul Food Farm birds) makes delicious soups come together fast. Feel free to use store-brought broth or water, and you’ll still have some winter comfort in no time. I also keep guanciale in the freezer so I can cut off chunks when I need it. No need to defrost. If you don’t have it, no worries, this soup would still rich and wonderful without.
Serves 4 to 6
1 cup farro
A handful of dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 olive oil, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons diced guanciale
1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 small carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 quart chicken broth
1/3 cup lentils
1 bunch kale, chard, spinach, or 2 big handfuls of braising mix
Grated Parmesan at the table
Cook the farro in boiling salted water until firm but tender, about 45 minutes (can be done a day or hours ahead) Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, soak the porcinis in about a cup and a half of warm water.
In a large, heavy soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat and add the guanciale. Cook, stirring, until translucent and beginning to brown. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, lower heat, and cook until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Drain the porcinis, straining and reserving their soaking water. Add the broth, lentils, greens, drained porcinis and their soaking water, and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the farro and salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook to allow flavors to meld, about 10 minutes. Serve drizzled with olive oil and topped with grated Parmesan cheese.