Yesterday we were given our first real taste of fall with cooler temperatures and a howling wind that lasted all day. I felt the weather was telling me it was now time to turn my closet around and bring down those sweaters and warm clothes I haven’t worn since last fall, to think about lighting our fireplace to warm up our very cold stone farmhouse, and to head to the kitchen to bake some bread and make warm soups to take away the chill.
I am presently infatuated with mushrooms which are now arriving at our local outdoor markets and grocery stores in abundance in both variety and quantity. For this soup I used a combination of dried porcini for that earthy rich flavor only a porcini can add as well as fresh mushrooms. You can choose whichever fresh mushroom you prefer, but I’d recommend portobello, cremini, or fresh porcini if available. I used a wild mushroom mix that included porcini and cremini as well as a number of other varieties. The base of this soup is creamy although I do add cooked faro at the end for texture. I also add just a little cream to add body and slkiness, though the addition of potatoes is the primary source of thickener for the soup. To garnish this soup you could add a variety of options including crisp pancetta bits, a dollop of sour cream or pesto, or some cheese topped “croutons” as I show in my photo.
Deborah Mele 2011
Porcini Farro Soup
Mushrooms and farro both have an earthy quality to them which makes them a great combination paired together in this soup.
- 1 Cup Farro (Or Barley)
- 2 Ounces Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Finely Chopped
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion, Peeled & Diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
- 2 Stalks Celery, Diced
- 8 Ounces Fresh Chopped mushrooms (See Note Above)
- 4 Small Potatoes, Peeled And Finely Sliced
- 4 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Thyme
- Salt And Pepper
- 8 Slices Baguette Bread
- Grated Caciocavallo Cheese (Or Other Full Flavored Melting Cheese)
- Cook faro in a small saucepan until tender, about 20 minutes, then drain and reserve.
- While the faro is cooking, heat the oil and add the onions, garlic, dried porcini, celery, and fresh mushrooms and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the broth and potato slices, and fresh thyme, and continue to cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Use either a hand wand blender, or place cooled ingredients into a table blender and blend until smooth.
- Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the cream and continue to cook until thickened.
- Stir in the cooked farro.
- Grill or broil the bread slices on both sides and then add the grated cheese to one side and continue to grill until melted.
- Spoon the warm soup into individual bowls, and then float the cheese “croutons” on each.
- Serve warm.