Recipe developed for Bluebird Grain Farms by Acacia Larsen.
1 Medium/large or 2 small winter squash (about 4 cups cooked squash)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
1 Cup Bluebird Emmer Farro
3 Cups apple cider
3 Cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
4 Tablespoons butter, bacon fat, or olive oil
½ Teaspoon dried thyme
½ Teaspoon celery seed
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Apple, cut in roughly in 1/2″ or ¼” cubes
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
*Optional: Sour cream & chives for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut your squash into 4 roughly equal pieces, remove and discard seeds & strings. Place on a large baking sheet, rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes, then remove foil and cook another 30 minutes, or until tender. Let cool a bit & then scoop out the flesh.
In your soup pot, bring to a boil 2 Cups apple cider, 1 Cup chicken broth and 1 Cup Emmer Farro. Lower heat, cover & simmer for 50 minutes. Strain farro over a bowl and reserve both farro & cooking liquid.
Remove & discard the dark green tops and roots from your leeks. Cut each leek in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into half moons. Put leeks in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Swish them around, then let sit for a minute to let any dirt settle out. Scoop out the leeks into a bowl lined with a clean towel.
In your soup pot, heat the butter or bacon fat over medium heat, add the leeks, thyme and celery seed and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the squash, reserved farro cooking liquid, 2 cups chicken broth and 1 cup apple cider. Bring to a simmer then turn off the heat. Puree the soup in batches, return to the pot, and add the vinegar, and salt to taste.
Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add butter or bacon fat, then add the farro, apple and brown sugar. Stir to coat the farro & apple, then let sit undisturbed in the pan for a couple of minutes so everything can caramelize. Stir, and let sit again for a minute. You are basically stir-frying the farro & apple so let everything get golden brown and the farro a bit crispy, then you’re done. If you have a large pan this takes about 4-5 minutes. If you have a smaller frying pan and, like me, have little patience for doing things in batches, then it will take about 6-8 minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls, dollop with sour cream if you so desire, and top with a nice scoop of the caramelized farro & apple.
Store leftover farro & apple separately from the soup.