Sunday, February 3, 2013

Salami Spelt Soup (Zuppa di Farro)

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"Unexpected Gift at at an Unexpected Time"

I have been making a LOT of soup this season (52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder) as well as what is appearing to me to be a never ending  Italian Cooking series (52 Authentic Italian Recipes).  It's always nice when these two obsessions collide and I have an Italian Soup to share.

But it's even better when I experience something unexpected.  First off, SPELT.  Spelt is a grain.  Looks a lot like barley.  This was my first time cooking with Spelt.  Will not be my last.  You may wonder what all those bins after bins of grains that you see at places like Whole Foods.  I always have just a bit of self consciousness when I shop at those bins.  After all, I live in Kansas, not Nola Granola land of California.  But shop there I did and awful happy I am.

But the unexpected part is the reaction I got from my wife.  She LOVED this soup!  The spelt cooks soft (took 4 hours in a slow cooker for the grains to soften).  But still they  retained their texture and chewiness.  The real surprise came in the taste.  Not the expected Earthiness of barley.  Instead, the taste opened a sweet compliment to the pepper spices from the salami.  It actually tasted much like sweet corn instead of barley.

The Salami flavoring in the soup was, as expected, a fantastic flavoring and texture for the soup.  But, combined with everything in the soup, especially the Sweet Spelt, this final product was most unexpected and is now among my very favorite soups and my chief taste tester proclaimed this as her very favorite and has already asked me to schedule another pot (even before all the leftovers are gone)!

Here's what I did...

Spelt Soup 
(Zuppa di Farro)

  • 5 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 3 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Large Red Onion, minced (for the Soffritto)
  • 1 Large Carrot, minced (for the Soffritto)
  • 1 Stalk Celery, minced (for the Soffritto)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced (for the Soffritto)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh cut Parsley, chopped and minced (for the Soffritto)
  • 1 Pound Uncooked Spelt
  • 8 Oz Salami, sliced 1/4 inch thick, then quartered
  • 4 Oz Pepper Salami 1/4 inch thick, then quartered
  • 3 small Cans Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 Large pinch Salt
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
Cooking Directions
The Secret - Saute the Spelt with the Soffritto
 prior to adding to the Slow Cooker
  1. This is a Slow Cooker recipe, but set the cooker on FAST (OK, there is no fast setting, set on High). This is a 4 hour soup.
  2. Add the chicken stock and begin to heat.
  3. Next, make the Soffritto... In a large saute skillet, Heat the Olive oil over medium heat. Add the Onions, Carrot and Celery and saute until the vegetables have softened (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the Garlic and parsley and saute for another minute.  You have now made a fresh Soffritto
  5. Now, turn the heat up to medium high and add the salami and continue to saute for another 5 minutes. You will be able to see the fat in the salami begin to soften the salami
  6. Now, add the Spelt and stir continuously for 5 minutes. This coats the grains with the now flavored saute oil, toasts the grain and makes the grain open up so they will soften and still retain their chewiness when you serve.
  7. Just as all of the oil is absorbed into the grain, the skillet is dry and the grains begin to stick to the bottom of the skillet, move everything to the Crock Pot slow cooker.
  8. Add the diced tomatoes (either canned or fresh) to the soup. Season with a large pinch of salt.
  9. Cover and forget for 4 hours.
  10. Taste, add additional salt and pepper as desired (If you use a very spicy pepper salami, the soup should not need additional spices (of course, that is "To Taste").
  11. Serve HOT and ENJOY!!!

I served this with some specialty crackers and a smear of Cranberry walnut goat cheese.

But also, this is old school.  Italian Grandmother old country, old school recipe.  The garins in those bins are much more than a distraction while you look for bulk price on organic rice...

Spelt... It's worth the hunt! .


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder" (Now more than 52 and still growing)

Soup from Scratch is one of the great kitchen joys.  The house smells amazing and the soup warms to the bone.  From broth to chowder, vegetarian to loaded up chili... Even a great idea for a party (love the Potato Soup Bar idea).  Come take a look, sure to have something you might like to try.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of "52 Ways to Cook SLOW COOKER-CROCK POT Easy Recipes"!!!

From meat dishes (Like an AMAZING Root Beer Pulled Pork that will feed a small army), to kitchen staples (FREE Gallon of Chicken Stock anyone?) to a slew of Soup and Stew recipes, these are the dishes that will change the way you cook.  Start in the morning, set and forget and dinner is on the table... Easy Peasy indeed!!!


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