We have had the most amazing weather here in Northern California for a couple of weeks now, but today…..today it is going to rain! As much as I have enjoyed the warm weather, I am just not done with winter yet.
For me, winter and cold rainy days make me want to stay in my pajamas all day, make soup and enjoy the pitter patter of the raindrops.
Have you ever enjoyed Farro? It is very similar to barley. It has a nutty and slightly chewy quality. It can be used in salads, as a side dish or in a soup like this one. Be sure that you use Pearled Farro as this type of farro will cook a little more quickly (same is true with barley).
This little gem of a soup makes quite a bit, but the good news is, it freezes well.
Fresh ingredients make for a tasty soup! The sherry really adds a bit of depth to this soup. If you aren’t a big pork eater, just substitute a chicken or turkey sausage. I liked the hot sausage for a little bit of spice.
First, bring one cup of water to a boil, add your dried mushrooms. Remove from heat and cover. While prepping for the soup, allow the mushrooms to reconstitute.
Chop all your veggies…
In a large skillet, brown up your bacon bits. Once browned, put grease in a small bowl and reserve the bacon bits to garnish your soup with. I ate mine while I was cooking…oops!!
In the same skillet, add back in one tablespoon of the bacon grease, one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon olive oil. Saute the onions and leeks until tender, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the garlic and saute for one minute. Now add in your chopped carrots. Give it a stir, then put in the farro to toast it a little bit, sauté for about one minute. Remove from heat and transfer to a large stock pot.
In the same skillet, add one tablespoon butter, one tablespoon of the bacon grease and one tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the mushrooms until their liquids have been absorbed, about 10-15 minutes, on medium high heat. Watch them closely. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add them into the large stock pot with the onion mixture.
I only put one bunch of the dinosaur kale into the soup. It could have used a little more in my opinion. It gives the soup a nice texture and beautiful color. While the soup is simmering, brown your sausage and add it to the soup at the very end. I did have to skim off a little bit of fat before I served it.
Enjoy this big, bold and delicious soup. You can top it with a dollop of crème and bacon. Pair with a simple green salad and your favorite rolls or crusty bread. Yummy!!!!
- ½ pound spicy sausage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large leek, sliced and rough chop
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms (your favorite, white, cremini, shiitake or a mixture of all), stemmed and sliced
- ⅓ cup dried porcini mushrooms
- ⅔ cup faro, pearled
- 8-10 cups beef broth
- ⅓ cup dry sherry
- 1 10-ounce can of tomato puree
- 3 slices good quality smoked bacon, chopped into bits
- Fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cover the dried mushrooms with 1 cup boiling water, and set aside while prepping the rest of the soup. Chop all your veggies.
- In a large skillet, cook your bacon bits until browned. Drain bacon grease into a heat resistant bowl (I line a small bowl with foil so it doesn't break) and set aside the bacon bits for garnish.
- In the same skillet add one tablespoon of the olive oil, one tablespoon reserved bacon grease and one tablespoon of butter. Saute the leeks and onions until soft and there is a little color on them. Add in the garlic and sauté for one minute. Seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.
- To the skillet, add in the carrots and faro. Stir and sauté for one minute. Transfer to a large stock pot.
- In same skillet add one tablespoon olive oil, one tablespoon bacon grease and one tablespoon butter, season with salt and pepper. Saute until the mushrooms have absorbed all their liquids and are slightly browned. Add to the stock pot.
- Add the beef broth, sherry and tomato puree into the stock pot. Drain the porcini mushrooms and give them a rough chop, add into the stock pot.
- Strain the mushroom soaking liquid to remove any grit and add to the stock pot. Season with salt and pepper and fresh thyme, simmer for about 40 minutes, or until farro is tender.
- While the soup is simmering, cook the sausage in a large skillet, crumble the sausage into bite sized pieces. Drain any excess fat.
- After the soup has simmered for about 40 minutes add in the sausage and sherry; adjust seasoning and serve.