Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mushroom and Farro Soup

Sounds boring, right?  Just a bowl of brown healthy things. And well, the reason there isn't a photo is that it looks like a bowl of brown healthy things.  This is not a visually stunning soup, and I couldn't get a photo that made it look like anything but brown.  But oh the flavor!  This is a savory, mouthwatering, umami bomb.  And healthy and simple to boot.

This recipe calls for beef stock/broth.  I don't cook enough beef with bones or use beef broth/stock often enough to make cooking it at home a cost-effective measure.  I used Swanson's low sodium beef stock (comes in the tall carton).  I then used a a cup of water to cut it.  However, if you have homemade beef stock that isn't too rich, just add a fourth cup of stock instead of the cup of water.

I used pearled farro, which cooks much faster than regular farro.  But you can use either kind.  If you use regular farro, extend simmering time to about 40 minutes, or what the package suggests for cooking time.

This soup pairs wonderfully with Spicy Blue Cheese Biscuits, the baking time of which is the same as the simmer time on the soup.

This serves four, but you can easily double the recipe.


  • 1/3 cup dried porcini (they will sit loosely in the cup, use about 1/3 of a 1 ounce package)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 onion (size of a baseball), diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces white button mushrooms, rough chopped into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 TBS tomato paste
  • 3 cups low sodium beef stock plus 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pearled farro
  • Bring 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white wine to a boil.  Pour over dried porcini and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Melt butter in a 4 quart pot over medium heat.
  • Add onion and carrot and saute until onion becomes a little golden.
  • Add garlic and cook for about a minute, being careful not to brown it.
  • Add chopped button mushrooms, and cook, stirring regularly until most of the liquid is thrown from the mushrooms.
  • Meanwhile, drain the porcini mushrooms through a coffee filter (this removes any grit).  Reserve soaking liquid and finely chop the porcini. 
  • Push ingredients in pot to sides and add tomato paste into center of pot.  Cook for a few minutes, to caramelize tomato paste, thus adding layers of flavor.  Stir into other ingredients.
  • Add beef stock plus water and the reserved soaking liquid from the porcini and bring to a strong simmer.
  • Add pearled farro and porcini, and simmer strongly for about 15 minutes.

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