Saturday, July 28, 2012

Farro Soup: A recipe from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

Well, yesterday I made my third recipe from Heidi Swanson’s cookbook Super Natural Every Day and I have to admit it was very easy and I loved it.  So far, I think it’s my favorite recipe.  It reminds me of another recipe I have for Barley Lentil (see below) soup.  I personally liked this recipe better than my own because it was simpler to make and my recipe uses red lentils instead of green.  I wasn’t able to find the black lentils, which disappointed me greatly. 

Another thing about this recipe (or recipes in general) is that you should read through all the instructions in a recipe before you attempt to make it.  I’m a very seat-of-the-pants type of cook and I often get burned.  Inevitably, I usually forget a key ingredient or I find out that something takes too long to make and I don’t have enough time.  The same was true with this recipe.  This recipe comes with an additional accompanying 2-ingredient recipe.  Two ingredients, I thought would be relatively simple, but I was mistaken.  First, I realized I didn’t have a thermometer (which you need to make sure the mixture doesn’t go over 90 degrees) and second, it takes two days to make.  There was an alternative though, to use yogurt, which I promptly did.  So, tonight I will try this Farro soup with some homemade cream and report on that tomorrow…

On another note, the day I made this soup, I thought I was such a wonder-woman.  I had determined to make this recipe as quickly as possible so I could take my son to the spray grounds (a public water park near our home).  I got home at 6:15pm, rushed to whip this recipe together (semi-pearled Farro will save you 25minutes BTW) and we were finished eating and out the door by 7:55pm.  The spray grounds are about 5 minutes from my home and when we arrived there were still about 3-4 families there.  My son was so excited; he could hardly contain himself, not to mention the repeated professions of love for myself for being such a wonderful mother.  When my 3-year-old tried to turn the water on, to no avail, he asked me to help him.  It was at that moment we discovered that the neighborhood shuts the water off at 8pm!  Words cannot explain from what great heights my esteem plunged in a matter of seconds—to be the hero one moment and the villain the next!    
Anyway, on to the review; please read what this blog is about if you have any questions.

9 = Taste (5 from me and 4 from my husband)
4 = Ingredient Availability – I had to call around to find Farro and could find no black lentils.
5 = Prep-Time (about 60 minutes)
5 = Cost (I will work out the cost per serving later, but I know it was low)  

23 out of 25 – Excellent!

5 = Family Bonus – My children cleaned their plate and even ate leftovers!  I’m pretty sure there should be some confetti here but I didn’t know how to add it.  I took a photo of my son enjoying it (that's a thumbs up, by the way).  
Would you make this recipe again? YES
Would you recommend to friends? YES

A little note about the benefits of some of the ingredients:  Lentils have been feeding people for thousands of years and are available to people worldwide.  Besides being an ancient staple, lentils are also are very good for you.  These miniature legumes are packed full of nutrients—a single 3.5oz serving is heaping with Thiamine, Iron, Phosphorous and Zinc but when it comes to Foliate, it is off the charts (120% DRV).  Farro is an Italian grain with an interesting history.  Apparently, it is the mother of all grains and is the oldest cultivated grain in the world.  As far as the nutritional benefits of Farro, I had a hard time tracking down, as this grain isn’t wildly popular in the US (as opposed to Europe, where it’s a staple).  All I was able to discover is that it’s low in calories and fat and high in fiber.  What I can attest to is the taste, which is wonderful.  All-in-all, I can tell you that you won’t be ashamed to put this item on the table.  It’s healthy, easy to cook, and your kids will eat it up—who could ask for more?    


Barley Lentil Soup recipe - This is an old favorite recipe I use.  I must add, if I haven't said so already, that the recipe in Heidi's book is better in different ways.  Heidi's recipe is also simpler and takes less time to prepare and cook.  The only way this is similar is because it has lentils (although the wrong color - and taste) and curry powder...  It's still a good recipe.  Enjoy!

·         2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
·         1 cup chopped onion
·         2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
·         1 stalk celery, chopped
·         7 cups vegetable broth, divided
·         1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
·         1 cup lentils, rinsed - I use RED lentils
·         1/2 cup pearl barley
·         1 tbsp tomato paste
·         1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
·         1 tsp curry powder
·         1 bay leaf
·         1 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
·         2 tbsp fresh lime juice
·         1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (Vegan or regular)
·         1 tsp salt
·         1/2 tsp black pepper
Spray 4-quart saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; sautee 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and celery; sautee 3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Mix in 6 cups vegetable broth, mushrooms, lentils, barley, tomato paste, thyme, curry powder and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 60 to 70 minutes or until lentils and barley are tender, but not mushy.
Blend in remaining broth, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf and serve. Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 186 calories, 10g protein, 31g carbohydrate, 10g fiber, 4g fat, 1092mg sodium.

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