It’s hot soup season here on the east coast. Time to put up a big batch each week to nourish, warm, comfort and sustain your family throughout the upcoming cold New England winter. This version, from Bacaro’s Chef/Owner Brian Kingsford, relies on a homemade vegetable stock fortified with Parmigiano Reggiano rinds which lend the soup a rich, complex flavor that only the king of cheeses can bring.
To match the soup’s deep flavors, our Eric Taylor chose a local gem from Johnston’s Verde Vineyards. It’s made from St. Croix, an American grape bred for flavor and to withstand harsh New England winters. The resulting wine has soft tannins, silky texture and lively but dry red berry flavors that play beautifully with the earthiness of the root vegetables, and the nutty, complex flavors of the cheesy broth.
Winter Root Vegetable & Farro Soup
from Chef/owner Brian Kingsford, Bacaro, Providence
A note from the chef: “While you could use store-bought vegetable broth for this soup, it just can’t compete with the good flavor of homemade broth, enhanced by the Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds. And it will contain far less sodium too. Simply make the stock in advance, refrigerate (or freeze) and then make soup at your leisure. At the restaurant we drizzle the soup with a quality extra-virgin olive oil: Zisola, a robust oil from Sicily.”
1 small sweet potato
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 medium white (Macomber) turnip
1 small sweet onion, such as Vidalia
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 bunches kale
1 cup farro
2½ quarts (10 cups) Vegetable-Parm Stock*
Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
Quality extra-virgin olive oil for serving
Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. Add the sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, turnip and onion and sauté on high heat for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly caramelized. Rinse kale under cool running water. Trim the tough stalks from the leaves and slice leaves into ribbons. (Use stalks for Vegetable-Parm Stock.)
Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the farro. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add kale and simmer for 15 more minutes, or until both the kale and the farro are tender. Add salt to taste. Ladle soup into bowls, and garnish with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
1 pound sweet onion, peeled and chopped in ½-inch dice
5 carrots, peeled and chopped in ½-inch dice
½ pound fennel, trimmed and chopped in ½-inch dice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces (1 cup) crimini mushroom, cleaned and roughly chopped, including stems
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped 1–2 medium (½ pound) turnips, such as Macomber
Kale stalks from soup prep, roughly chopped (optional)
1 tomato, cored and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
7 whole black peppercorns
3 pieces Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds
6 quarts (24 cups) water
Preheat oven to 400°. Toss the onion, carrots and fennel in olive oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the vegetables start to caramelize, approximately 15–20 minutes. Remove from oven and place vegetables in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot.
Meanwhile prep the mushrooms, celery, turnip, kale stalks, tomato and garlic and add to the pot with the bay leaf, black peppercorns and Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds with the water.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking uncovered until liquid is reduced by half. Strain out solids from the stock. Season with salt to taste. This recipe should yield roughly 2½ quarts (10 cups) of vegetable stock.
Bon Appetit, and Cheers!