I am often asked what are my favorite Mediterranean diet recipe during the winter when fresh vegetables are in short supply. Sure, the cold weather makes it far more difficult to find vegetables in season, but root vegetables and a little imagination come in handy during the winter. I generally opt for soups, which is a great way to incorporate a variety of healthy vegetables into a pleasing and filling meal. Furthermore, the pleasing aromas of a soup makes your home feel inviting to friends and family alike.
In the December, 2014 Food & Wine magazine, we found a delightful recipe for Beef and Farro soup by Hugh Acheson. This is a tummy-warming yet hearty soup that features the lovely texture of farro and some wonderful garnishes and spices that are so popular Mediterranean recipes. And, who can argue with the color and nutritional benefits of Tuscan kale. Found below is Hugh’s wonderful recipe:
Beef and Farro Soup from Hugh Acheson
Yield 4 servings (generous)
A hearty and comforting soup best enjoyed during the winter. The white miso makes all the difference.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- 9 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1 head of garlic, pierced all over with a knife
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup farro
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 leek, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
- 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 3 small carrots, chopped
- 1 small bunch Tuscan kale, chopped (3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons white miso
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
- In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper, add half to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, turning, until browned, about 5 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate. Repeat with the remaining meat.
- Pour off all of the oil from the casserole. Add 1 cup of the stock and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Add the remaining 8 cups of stock along with the meat, garlic, thyme and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Stir in the farro and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the farro is almost tender, 20 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, leek, celery, carrots, kale, miso and paprika. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the garlic and herb sprigs. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with cheese and serve.