I Lied About The Soup - שיקרתי על המרק
A couple of weeks ago, or maybe a couple of days ago - have lost my sense of time while we stand in place - I said that spring had sprung and it was time to abandon winter soups and to move on lighter fare. Well, I lied.
Between that post and today, חג פסח (Passover) happened. And anyone who has experienced a week of מצות (matzah) can attest to the fact that the food is heavy. Even if you eat קטניות (lentils, rice, grains) during the holiday, everything tastes different (and it is supposed to). Cakes are made with potato flour and matzah meal (pronounced "mel"). Eggs are in everything since you cannot use leavening. And it seems as though frying and even deep-frying becomes the dominant mode of cooking.
This year we had Passover and the plague. Running to the Shuk for ingredients wasn't an option so we stocked up at the beginning of the week and by the end of the week and I found myself once again with an overload of half edible/inedible green things - leeks, parsley, fennel, zucchini...
During Passover we do not get rid of our not-kosher-for-Passover food, even though we should. We keep it in drawers that we don't open during the holiday so that presto-changeo, when the holiday is over, it is available immediately. On the last day at 7 p.m. I opened one of these drawers, the pasta drawer, and breathed in the aroma of wheat.
I spied farro (spelt), a very old variety of wheat. It was too late that day to make something that night (we had bagels) but I decided that I would use up my half-dead greens and make a farro soup the next day. Not exactly the light fare I promised, but so much lighter than most of the Passover dishes, for me it stood in for spring fare.
The next day, I washed all the leftover vegetables and lettuces and made a thick stock which I thinned with canned tomatoes and little bit of wine. When it was cooked I strained out all the pulp and put the clear tomato broth in a container in the fridge.
Well I guess the tomato broth was a little too tasty because we ate it before I could make the farro soup. So today, I started from scratch and made a variation of the classic Tuscan recipe.
I suppose this experience does nothing for people with celiac disease or wheat sensitivities, and I am sorry you cannot enjoy the chewy goodness of farro but I hope you enjoy the tale of its creation.
As with all the recipes it will be also be published later under a Creative Commons License. The attribution is important to me. If you enjoy the soup, let me know and don't forget the shout-out.
BT's Take on Tuscan Farro Soup
1 extra large leek
2 stalks celery
1 dark green zucchini
1 serrano chili
2 heads wilted lettuce
1 bulb fennel
2 old carrots
1/2 head new garlic
28 ounces (825 ml) crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon (1/2 gram) ground cloves
1/2 cup (120 ml) red wine
2 teaspoons (8 grams) sugar
3/4 cup (100 gram) farro
2 tablespoons (30 ml) sunflower oil (or any light vegetable oil)
3 cups (350 ml) water
1 small bunch dill
1 small bunch coriander
1 tablespoon (15 ml) kosher salt
Juice of 1 lemon
3-6 grinds of black pepper
Thoroughly wash vegetables and lettuce
Rough chop leek, zucchini, fennel, celery and carrots
Slice chili in rings, including veins and seeds
Add oil to heavy gauge pot and turn flame on medium
When oil is hot add chili and stir for 30 seconds
Add leek, zucchini, fennel, celery and carrots
Cook for 3-4 minutes or until leek becomes translucent
Add nutmeg, cloves and salt and pepper and cook for 1 minutes stirring constantly
Add wine and sugar and cook for 2 minutes
Add lettuces, tomatoes, garlic and water and bayleaf
Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes
Remove from stove and let cool
In a separate pot par-boil farro (cook in salted boiling water for 10 minutes)
Add parboiled farro to soup
Heat on low for ten minutes
When soup is hot add finely chopped dill and cilantro and lemon juice