mercredi 23 décembre 2009

Bean and farro soup, yeah!

This is a wonderfully soothing and filling winter soup that is a meal unto itself. I served it with a salad of wild greens anyway, and had fresh bread on hand along with cheddar cheese. Click on the title for a link to the recipe, which appeared in this week's NY Times.

The recipe calls for squash, but I decided to use a sweet potato instead. No complaints from the crowd were heard.

Also, in addition to the bouquet garni I added some turmeric and some cumin, just a smidgen for a little extra flavor.

The green cabbage could be replaced by savoy cabbage.

As for the beans, I used great northern white beans but pinto or kidney would work just as well.

What makes the soup is the addition of whole canned tomatoes simmered in garlic and rosemary. I used San Marzano tomatoes, which are considered by many chefs to be the best for making sauces. Many chefs are right! They are relatively expensive (4.99 for a 14-oz can), but worth every penny.

The farro is cooked separately and then added at the very end, giving the soup a little added heft.

If you live among carnivores, you could also add Italian sausage to this soup. But my carnivore was quite satisfied without it.

Martha Rose Shulman, who provided this recipe, is one of my favorite vegetarian cookbook authors. Many years ago, I asked a friend from Canada who was coming to stay with me in Paris to bring a couple of good vegetarian cookbooks along. I was tired of Moosewood and not finding anything to my liking in French. She introduced me to Shulman, who now edits the recipe column of the NY Times' Health section.

French vegetarian cookbooks, at least at the time, tended toward elaborate recipes that took ages to make. My favorite source of recipes in France was the fiches recettes in the back of every issue of Elle magazine. There were four recipes every week, presented on one page. Each individual recipe could be stored as a separate card (fiche). I must have collected hundreds of them over the years. Unfortunately, they mysteriously did not make into the container ship that brought my stuff across the ocean.

But that's okay because I just noticed two new recipes in the NY Times; one for provençal tomato and bean gratin and the other for strata with mushrooms and chard. Strata is like bread pudding, kind of.