Last night was the first in 8 looooooong nights that I was able to sorta breathe and sleep without waking up every 30 minutes to deal with the indecencies afflicting my lungs. I’m not sure what evil crawled in there this time, but I am, once again, grateful to be coming out of this alive. The weather has also started to become a much brighter, healthier looking affair, so that’s helped boost my spirits a bit, but I’ve been a good girl and have laid low as much as possible to ensure swift recovery. Sure, I could have used a couple of things from a couple different stores, but since none of those things had the name "inhaler" or "steroid" attached to it, I figured I was good for another few days.
Still, bright beautiful days make me want bright beautiful food and despite my oxygen-deprived funk, I wanted something pretty - and pretty tasty - over the weekend to see if I could encourage myself to eat. All Poor Girl’s been able to eat for the past several days is a couple of scrambled eggs here & there, and with absolutely none of the enthusiasm that usually goes with that (I really *heart* my eggs). It’s rather strange for me not to be cooking something, no matter how sick I might be (remember the Hearty Mushroom & Potato Soup? Sometimes my best recipes come to me when I’m ill), but I just wasn’t feelin’ it! Absolutely nothing has appealed to me recently. I’d even cooked up some farro in the hopes that I could make some sort of hearty meal out of it but just couldn’t get myself to eat it. Fortunately it was still waiting for me patiently, so that Sunday’s idea for a lovely new soup could finally come to fruition.
There’s nothing difficult or overly spectacular about this, but it is ever-so-tasty and makes me happy just to look at it. Using the unexpected score of some lovely ripe tomatoes from last week’s farmers market excursion and plenty of garlic, the broth is light but quite flavorful, the perfect backdrop to the multitude of veggies added in. Chewy farro completes this early spring soup with its hearty, nutty flavor. No fresh tomatoes yet? No worries! This will work out just fine with a couple of cans of diced tomatoes. And if you can’t find farro (or spelt, as it’s more commonly known), you can add any leftover brown or wild rice you may have and get wonderful results. And if you absolutely MUST have some sort of meat in your soup, adding a bit of cooked, cubed chicken would be a great way to get your meat on and up the protein content a bit as well.
Vegetable Farro Soup (makes 6-8 servings; total cost per serving: ~$1.75)
6 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 ½ c cooked farro
2 1/2 c chopped fresh tomatoes (or 1-2 cans diced tomatoes, juices reserved)
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
1 c broccoli florets (cut into very tiny pieces; about ½” max)
1 c green peas
1 c sliced mushrooms
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 T olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
¼ t thyme
¼ t tarragon
¼ t rosemary
½ t sea salt
Small pinch of raw sugar (to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes)
Plenty of freshly ground pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and add the garlic & onions. Cook over medium heat until just fragrant and add the thyme, tarragon, rosemary, salt and pepper. Next, add the tomatoes and the pinch of sugar, and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the carrot slices & broccoli florets and cook for another 2-3 of minutes before adding the broth. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the cooked farro and bring back to a low simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Finally, add the peas and the mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Check for seasoning and adjust with salt & pepper accordingly. Serve generous portions in large soup mugs, season with plenty of ground black pepper, and enjoy!