Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leek & Farro Soup

Seriously is it really June and I am craving soup? That rarely happens. But does rainy, cold weather belong in June either?

I ended up in the cookbook aisle at the bookstore this week, another cold weather activity! I can hardly tear myself away from that aisle. I try not to buy, but it is ever so hard. Luckily I had a gift card in hand, so I actually had a reason to be there.

As I flipped through the cookbooks, I found one that looked particularly interesting. It was called "The Silver Spoon Cookbook". No Ricky Shroder here. It is a classic Italian cookbook that was recently translated into English. Not many pictures (which I usually love) but lots of basic recipes for some great ingredients that are never given a fair shake in most cookbooks- some of which include dandelion, radicchio and leeks. http://www.phaidon.com/silverspoon/

Anyways, I stumbled upon a leek and farro soup that sounded great. I forgot the recipe by the time I got home but managed to find similar recipes online and added some of my own touches (namely garlic, parmesan rind and using my own bouillon paste). It is super easy, delish and really satisfied my summer soup craving. Don't expect fireworks and stars with this one- it really is the most basic and humble soup around but it was very nice hearty peasant food.

I actually pulled myself away from the cookbook section that day so I haven't bought the Silver Spoon book yet, but that just might be the next purchase!

Leek & Farro Soup
Pearled farro really speeds things along, but if you have regular farro- soak it overnight or just plan to cook it for at least an hour and a half. For the bouillon paste, search my site. If you don't have farro, use any wheat-like grain as they are all very similar (emmer, wheat berries, spelt, etc.) I keep the ends of parmesan cheese in the freezer to add flavour to soups. If you have one, give the rind a good scrub and throw it in the boiling pot. If not, garnish with parmesan cheese at the end.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
2 leeks, white only, chopped and rinsed several times
1 1/2 cups pearled or regular farro, rinsed
7-8 cups chicken or veg broth (I used a few tbsp of my bouillon paste- yep, it has lasted this long!)
parmesan cheese &/or rind (optional)

1. In a large saucepan or soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add leeks and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until they wilt and turn golden.
2. Add farro, broth and parmesan rind and bring to a boil.
3. Simmer for at least one hour (pearled) up to 2 hours (regular farro).
4. Serve with parmesan cheese and season with ground pepper if desired.