This soup was perfect for an entirely inspid, cold, rainy grey day. (It also didn’t help that our dog underwent eye surgery.)
The recipe was inspired by food 52’s mushroom farro salad and Mark Bittman’s farro soup. You might be asking, how is this southern? Well, remember that collards broth I told you to reserve from the last recipe? It’s used here to add a slightly spicy and tangy flavor.
Start by heating up a pat or so of butter (about a tb) and an equal amount of olive oil in a soup pot, under medium-low heat. Chop up an onion, mince it, and add to the pot, and stir until it caramelizes – which basically means the onions will brown a bit on the edges, and the bottom will have nice brown stuff on it. The times vary, but you’ll know it by the smell- it smells a bit nutty, more flavorful, and has a different depth.
In the meantime, get these ingredients together:
about 1 TB roughly chopped garlic, from Small Potatoes Farm
1 cup black eyed peas, soaked overnight
1 cup farro
collards stock and water (about 6 cups total), from sneaky collards recipe (or if you don’t have any, you can use any vegetable stock you like)
1 can of diced tomatoes (I like Centos San Marzano variety)
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and sliced, from Spain Farm
When the onions are done caramelizing, stir in garlic for a minute, then add a cup of stock and gently scrape the bottom to make sure you’ve got the brown bits. It’s good stuff, I promise. Add rest of the stock + water, peas, farro, tomatoes (if your tomatoes are not diced, just smush them in your hand- quite satisfying) and add rest of tomato juice in the can, then mushrooms. Bring to a boil (raise heat) and simmer for an hour or so until the peas and farro are soft- stir now and then to prevent sticking. Farro will absorb a lot of liquid, so if the soup seems thick, you can add about a cup of water or stock.
When the farro/peas are ready, add a bunch of roughly chopped parsley (from Harland’s Creek Farms), stir in and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with plenty of parmesan or asiago on top. It’s also very nice with slices of toasted bread on the side (we used volkhorn from Guglhupf’s, with a little bit of goat cheese on top).
This makes a lot of leftovers, and I have been assured by a reliable source that this soup is still very good the next day.