Farro, Cranberry Bean, and Winter Squash Soup

by Meg Cotner on October 14, 2010


This recipe started out with the idea of simply combining farro – my current favorite grain – and cranberry beans, as a way to eat up one of my CSA veggies this week.  So I soaked the farro in the morning, with the hope that the dish would simply come to me.  I’m happy to say that it did, and it is a winner!

I often contemplate dinner while I’m commuting home on the train.  I thought about what would go well with farro and cranberry beans, as well as considered what I had on hand at the house.  It occurred to me that these two ingredients would taste good with tomatoes and winter squash, along with thyme, onions, garlic, and white wine.  Something green also would be good, so I opted for watercress, in part because of its health benefits, and because it looked fresh at the produce stand.

I only had to buy the thyme, onion, and watercress, as well as the white wine. At the same time I took the opportunity to replenish our “house wine”, which is Cloudline pinot noir.  Love that stuff!  The wine I used for this soup is a Smoking Loon sauvignon blanc.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure what this $10 bottle would provide, but I have to say, it is very tasty.  I would definitely buy it again.

This soup is quite thick, almost more of a stew; I tend to like my soups thick, though.  The roasted squash breaks down and thickens the soup, and the starch from the farro also contributes to that thickening.  I enjoyed this soup topped with a fried egg and a bit of grated parmesan, but it is delicious on its own.  It’s a great soup for this time of year – cranberry beans are in the markets, and winter squash is starting to be seen.  Thick soups like this are excellent on cold autumn nights, too.

Farro, Cranberry Bean, and Winter Squash Soup

1/2 c. farro, soaked with water and a big splash of (raw) vinegar

1 small acorn squash, or small winter squash
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp cumin

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic minced

1/2 c. white wine
1 pound fresh cranberry beans (1/2 pound shelled)

2 c. stock, water, or a mixture (I used 1 cup stock and 1 cup water)
1 pint crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped watercress
1/4 c. white wine
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Soak the farro in water and acid (vinegar, in this case) for 8-10 hours.  As you start to prepare this dish, drain and rinse the farro.  Set aside.

Cut the squash in half and remove all seeds and obvious strings. Cut the squash into a total of 6-8 pieces. Brush the flesh with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and cumin. Roast in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. When it is done cooking, simply let sit and cool on the pan.

Meanwhile, saute the onion in olive oil and salt in a large pan over medium-high heat until translucent. Add the thyme and garlic and cook for another minute. By this time the onion should start to caramelize.

Add the drained farro and cook about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Add the beans and combine with the onion-farro mixture. Add the stock/water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

As the mixture is simmering, peel and chop the squash into 1 inch pieces. Add it to the soup. Add the chopped tomatoes and the watercress.  Let cook for another 5 minutes.

Finish off with a 1/4 c. white wine, 1/8 tsp of smoked paprika, and 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6.

This post is participating in the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop, hosted by Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS.

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Sustainable Eats October 15, 2010 at 1:07 am

This looks wonderful! I have some farro just itching to get out of it’s jar AND I’m currently on a soup kick. Can’t wait to try this one – thanks for sharing with Simple Lives Thursday!
.-= Sustainable Eats´s last blog ..Simple Lives- October 14- 2010 =-.

Meg October 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Thanks, Sustainable Eats! Definitely let me know how you like it if you make it!

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