TasteFood

Sunday Dinners: Tur-Chicken Soup

This is a Sunday soup, a perfect antidote to a long holiday weekend punctuated with big meals and late evenings. It's restorative, healthy and nourishing -- a perfect time-out meal to enjoy on a relaxing day with no social agenda. It's also a simple way to use some of that leftover turkey lurking in your fridge. But if you've soldiered through your Thanksgiving leftovers already, you can easily use cooked chicken or a rotisserie chicken from your local store or farmer's market.

There are two important ingredients I like to add to this soup. Shiitake mushrooms impart a luscious slinkiness and umami flavor to the stock, and farro, an ancient nutty wheat grain, lends satisfying heft to each slurp. Use pearled or semi-pearled farro for easiest cooking. Whole-grain farro, while the healthiest option, requires soaking and a cooking time of at least 1 hour, and has a distinct earthy flavor. Milder semi-pearled farro still retains some of its nutritious bran and germ, but is scored to hasten cooking, and pearled farro is completely stripped, thus the least nutritious, but quickest to cook. If farro is not available, pearl barley is a good substitute.

Turkey and Farro Soup With Carrots and Shiitake Mushrooms

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 to 50 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick

6 ounces small shiitake mushrooms, ends trimmed

1/2 cup pearled farro or pearl barley

6 cups turkey or chicken stock

2 thyme sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

2 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken breast

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flatleaf parsley

Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium. Add the onion and saute until it softens without coloring, about 3 minutes. Toss in the carrots and mushrooms and saute until the carrots brighten in color and the mushrooms begin to release their juices, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the farro and cook briefly, stirring to coat and lightly toast the grains, and then add the stock, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the farro is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in the chicken (or turkey), salt and pepper and top off with additional stock if needed. Simmer until the chicken is heated through. Ladle the soup into bowls, and serve hot, garnished with the parsley.

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