Few meals are more satisfying when it's frigid outside than a big bowl of hot soup. I have many favorites, but I'm always looking for new soup recipes to try. Here are a few that I've bookmarked: Sweet Potato, Kale and Chickpea Soup, this unusual Roasted Beet Soup (maybe with golden beets - my favorite), and Lorraine's lightened-up version of the West African Chicken and Peanut Stew that I posted a while ago.
But this recipe is from Giovanna. We decided to do a 'soup swap' post - I made her Farro and Borlotti Bean Soup, and she made one of my favorites Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup with her own twist - a dollop of fresh, sheep's milk ricotta. Yum!
Her recipes continue to amaze me. Is it her Italian heritage or just a gift, to come up with uncomplicated recipes with such extraordinary flavor? Whatever the answer, this soup is delicious: hearty, healthful, filling, fantastic.
Farro and Borlotti Bean Soup with Garlic Croutons
Look for cranberry beans in US stores - they're the same thing.
For the garlic croutons:
- 2 thick slices bread (I used whole wheat sourdough), crusts removed
- 1 clove garlic halved lengthwise
- olive oil
For the soup:
- 2 slices bacon, diced
- olive oil
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 2 cups cooked borlotti (cranberry) beans
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 cup farro or spelt berries
- 2½ cups water
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- extra virgin oilve oil
- To make the croutons:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Rub the bread slices on both sides with the garlic halves.
- Cut bread into ½ to 1-inch cubed. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
- Drizzle generously with olive oil and add a light sprinkle of salt.
- Bake 15 minutes, stir; bake 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and reserve.
- To make the soup:
- Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add bacon; cook and stir until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered.
- If there isn't much fat; add a swirl of olive oil. Add carrot, onion, celery and a small pinch of salt; cook and stir until onion is translucent - about 3 minutes.
- Add borlotti (or cranberry) beans and stir to coat. Add tomato sauce; stir to combine. Add the farro or spelt and stir to combine.
- Reduce heat to low and add water. Simmer on low for 1½ hours.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Sprinkle croutons on top of soup; drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve.
- Serves 4 to 6