ancient farro soup with gialet beans

October 27, 2013

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I’ve posted other soups similar to this one, like the wabun point potage, ribollita, and minestrone. So this recipe is less about the actual recipe and more about the procurement of ingredients. We all have beans and rice in the pantry (or should!) but this soup features two ingredients that take this soup up a notch or several. First, instead of your ordinary grain, I used farro, or more specifically, emmer grown in the Garfagnana region of Tuscany with an IGP designation (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) which by law guarantees its geographic origin. Second, I used Gialet beans which are Slow Food Presidia protected. If you don’t know Presidia, “the Presidia sustain quality production at risk of extinction, protect unique regions and ecosystems, recover traditional processing methods, safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties.” Wendell Berry says that “eating is an agricultural act” and it’s true. By purchasing foods that protect our farmers, our fields, our biodiversity, our traditions, we advocate for the systems we want and don’t want. All in a bowl of soup. 

4 tbsps olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 carrots, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

8 baby potatoes, quartered

2 cloves garlic, minced

handful of fresh thyme

1 cup farro

4 cups veggie stock, plus water from cooking the beans if necessary

1 cup stewed tomatoes

1 cup cooked gialet beans

sea salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed dutch oven. Sauté onion, carrot, celery, and potatoes until they begin to soften up, about 10 – 15 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and sauté until garlic becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add dry farro and stir until coated with the olive oil. Add veggie stock and cook for about 20 – 25 minutes until farro is cooked. If you need more liquid, add additional veggie stock or some of the water from cooking the beans. Once the farro is done, add stewed tomatoes, gialet beans, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat for another 5 – 10 minutes until the flavours meld, adjust seasoning, and serve with some bread or other delicacy that sustains quality production, protects unique regions and ecosystems, recovers traditional processing methods, safeguards native breeds and local plant varieties.

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