Garbanzo, Farro & Squash Soup


Chef Jim Dixon, the cook behind

Soak about a cup each of garbanzos and farro together in plenty of water overnight. Drain, add enough water to cover, stir in some salt, and simmer for an hour (longer even better) or until the beans are tender. Cut up the rest of the ingredients while the beans and farro cook.

Chop an onion, 3-4 stalks of celery, and a few cloves of garlic. Chiffonade a bunch of collard greens (leave the center stalk attached; it'll cook enough to get tender).

While I like to use one of the big, pumpkin-y squashes (Cucurbita maxima, like green kabocha, Winter Sweet, Silver Bell, or Sweet Meat) for this, almost any winter squash would work. Cut it in half, pick out the seeds (roast them with olive oil and salt for about 25 minutes), then grate the raw pieces (and leave the skin on, even with the gnarly-looking kabochas). It’s easiest in the food processor, but a box grater works, too. You want about 2 cups worth.

Add the grated squash, onion, celery, garlic, and collards to the pot. Add a large can of diced tomatoes (or the tomatoes you roasted and froze last summer). Sprinkle in a good handful of Pantellerian oregano, pour in plenty of good olive oil, taste for salt, and let the soup simmer for a couple of hours if you can. Soup always tastes best with long, slow cooking.

Just before serving taste it again; if it seems to need a little something, add a splash of apple cider vinegar (I use Katz Gravenstein). Drizzle with more oil at the table, and a pinch of Parmigiano would be good, too.

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