Bean soups are very simple, definitely peasant fare, but oh so delicious! After seeing this one at 101 Cookbooks I knew it was time to make my own.
My version included what I had in the vegetable drawer – carrots, celery, onion and fennel – plus some bacon for a bit of smoky flavor. I had made some kidney beans a few days ago and used the water I cooked them in for stock. This soup came together in the time it took me to finish cleaning up the kitchen!
Farro is the Italian for spelt, which is a “cousin” of wheat but usually more easy for people to digest since most of us have not been eating it all our lives. Farro or spelt looks like barley and cooks up similarly. It has a nutty taste and adds a lovely texture to this soup, toothsome rather than mushy. I shredded the kale and served it “Caldo Verde” style, a Portuguese soup which places shredded raw kale in the bottom of the soup bowl and ladles the steaming soup on top. This method just wilts the kale and it keeps its fresh green color.
Farro, Bean and Kale Soup
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 strips bacon, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 tablespoons fresh fennel, diced
2 cups red beans plus 2 cups cooking liquid
4 cups water
2 cup kale, shredded fine
1 cup farro
1 bay leaf
Saute bacon over medium heat in olive oil until it crisps. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add carrots, celery and fennel and cook another 5 minutes until soft. Add beans, cooking liquid (or 2 more cups of water) plus 4 cups of water, and farro and bring to boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook another 30 minutes or until farro is tender but firm to the bite. Add salt and pepper to taste (beans require plenty of salt to don’t skimp, add a teaspoon at a time). Place 1/2 cup shredded kale in each soup bowl and ladle soup of it. Serve.
Recipes currently inspiring me: