Monday, May 7, 2012

Soup's ON!

Yesterday I cooked a roast beef, and today I'm making a beef and farro minestrone to put into the freezer for when Dr. C. and I need something curative.  Farro is an ancient Roman grain that is all the rage now, but it's nutritional qualities are what I'm excited about.  It has lots of vitamins and minerals, along with fiber, and it is delicious; like barley it will thicken soups and stews, but it still has a chewy bite, more like wheat berries, or wild rice, so it gives you a bit of texture as well.  The soup I am making is in the slow cooker, and I am cleaning out the veggie drawer since we are going out of town in a few days.  You can add your favorite veggies, beans, or what's leftover from another dinner to this one, too.  I'm using the haricot verte from last nights' dinner. The rinds from Parmigiano Reggiano add salt, and sweetness to the soup, balancing the beefy flavor. 

Beef and Farro Minestrone
Serves 8
This will make more than enough to freeze into zip-loc bags and save for a rainy day.  Serve with crusty bread, and a salad.  

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried herbs of your choice (sage, thyme, rosemary and marjoram all work well here)
2 cups leftover roast beef, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes (this is why I love the ones in the jar, or box)
1 cup farro, washed
10 cups beef broth or a combination of beef and chicken broth if you find beef broth too strong
Rind from Parmigiano Reggiano cheese cut into pieces

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium high heat and add the onion, carrots, celery and herbs, sauteing for 3 to 4 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften; 


 add the beef, and toss to coat with the oil and spices. 

Add the tomatoes and farro and transfer to the insert of a 5 to7-quart slow cooker.  
Pour the broth over the ingredients, add the rind from the cheese, if using, and stir to distribute.
Cover and cook for 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low.  
    Check the soup (if you are around) about 1/2 way through the cooking time and add more broth if the farro has absorbed too much.  There are several different kinds of farro, and the semi-pearled will not soak up all the broth, but some others will. 

    Remember that old Campbell's Soup commercial, "soup is good food"?  Well, this soup is not only good for you, it's a great weeknight dinner when you can round it out with salad and bread.  Buon appetito!

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