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With its Russian origins, this hearty mushroom soup is sure to hit the spot on a freezing day. Farro is an ancient type of wheat that was one of the first grain crops to be domesticated, thousands of years ago. Nutritious and with a low GI, it is available in health food stores and in some supermarkets, but if you can’t find it, pearl barley or spelt can be substituted.
- 2 ounces dried wild mushrooms
- 2 ounces butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 lb mixed fresh mushrooms, peeled and sliced
- 4 ounces cracked farro (see above)
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into dice
- fresh bouquet garni
- fresh dill leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1⁄2 lemon, juice of, only
- sour cream, to serve
- Soak the dried mushrooms in enough boiling water to cover them for about 1 hour. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid, and chop coarsely.
- Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan, add the onion, celery and fresh mushrooms and fry gently for about 15 minutes.
- Add the farro, the dried mushrooms, plus their soaking liquid, and the stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the potato and bouquet garni and simmer until the farro is cooked and the vegetables are tender – about another 20 minutes. Stir in the dill and lemon juice, then check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Serve hot, with spoonfuls of soured cream on top.