Mayor De Blasio of NYC had been hyping the “Blizzard of 2015″ aka ” winter storm Juno,” which led Sheila and me to brave the frenzied shoppers by elbowing our way through Whole Foods to stock up for a particularly bitter winter storm.
We opted for Hugh Acheson’s “Beef and Farro Soup” which was featured in Food and Wine. While this is more of a stew than a soup, my wife Sheila decided to make several modifications to give the stew (sic soup) more flavor. Personally, I am glad that she did.
Variations on Hugh's Beef and Farro Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck cut into 1-inch pieces (I recommend a mixture of 50% boned short ribs and 50% chuck for more flavor.
- 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 of white miso
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika Editor's Note: Make this a Tablespoon, a teaspoon is useless!
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish (Editor's Note: The photograph shows shaved parmesan - grated is better!)
- 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.
Again, this is a hearty stew more than a soup. Enjoy on a cold winter’s day.
For those interested in a somewhat less hearty soup, I recommend this wonderful potato and leek soup.