Sunday, November 08, 2009

Staying Warm in Winter

Winter is coming, as evidenced by the recent plummeting temperatures and lashing rains. Contributor Jim Dixon of RealGoodFood is fighting back with hearty soups made from grains and root veggies, and he shares a recipe here. You can find him and a wide selection of imported grains, beans, Katz vinegars and Italian olive oils on Mondays from 5 till 7 at Activspace, 833 SE Main #111 in the inner courtyard (and cash or checks only, please).

The weekend’s storm definitely felt like winter, and I made a big pot of soup to keep warm. You could cook the beans and farro in the soup, but it will take longer.

Farro and Bean Soup with Kale, Squash, and Celery Root

Soak a cup or more of Bluebird Grain Farms farro overnight, then simmer in salted water for about an hour. Cook a cup or more of Haricot Farms red beans (I combine the beans, unsoaked, with water, salt, and olive oil in a clay bean pot, then bake at about 200° until done, usually a few hours).

Start by making an Italian-style sofrito. Cook a chopped onion in extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes, then add chopped celery and cook a bit longer, then carrots and cook a little more. Add a little salt and water (several cups or more) and bring to a gentle boil.

Peel and cube a celery root, add to pot. Ditto a smallish butternut squash (or half a bigger one). Chiffonade a bunch of cavalo nero (aka lacinato kale) by cutting the leaves into thin strips. Add to pot. Chop half a head of green cabbage, into the pot as well. Add more water to cover, if necessary, and simmer gently for an hour or so.

Add the cooked farro and beans, check the salt and add more if needed. Stir in a cup or so of polenta (Ayers Creek is the best. They'll be back at the Hillsdale Farmers Market on Sunday, Nov. 15. Check the website to find out what they'll be bringing.). Simmer for another 30 minutes or longer.

Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

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