I used Sangre de Toro beans the first time around. The second time I used Rosa de Castilla in the pot I made last night. Both were good (the pot liquor from the Sangre de Toro was intense), but the Rosa de Castilla were great - they held their shape, then melted in your mouth. Red beans are traditionally used. You can certainly experiment with other grains here - whole wheat berries, or pearled barley - just keep in mind the non-pearled grains will take longer to cook. Take a glance at the photo to see roughly how small I chopped the carrots and vegetables. And lastly...this freezes well, so you can let it cool, then bag and freeze it.
1 pound / 16 oz / 453g red beans, soaked for at least 4 hours preferably overnight, then drained
10 cups / 2.5 liters water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
28 ounce / 800g can whole, peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
3 small-med (1/2 pound / 8 oz) new potatoes, chopped
2 stalks celery
2 cups / 13 oz / 370 g pearled farro
1 - 2 cups water or vegetable broth
fine grain sea salt to taste
1/2 head / 9 oz savoy cabbage, chopped
1/2 bunch / 4 oz kale, de-stemmed and chopped
Parmesan and olive oil to serve. Or do what I did with this bowl - whisk together a bit of leftover harissa and some olive oil for a spicier drizzle.
Cook the beans in a large pot or stock pot with the 10 cups / 2 1/2 liters of water. When the beans are cooked, remove a generous scoop of them from the pot, place in a bowl and mash them well. Return to the pot.
In a separate pan, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat. Just when it begins to color add them to the bean broth. Stir in the tomatoes, carrot, potatoes, celery, and farro. Bring to a boil again, then dial the heat down to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the farro is cooked through, 20 - 30 minutes. Be sure the vegetbles are cooked through as well. If you need to stir in more water or broth do so one cup at a time until the stew is the consistency you like. Taste. You are going to need to salt quite a bit. Start with a teaspoon and go from there until the flavors become bright.
Stir in the cabbage and kale, and cook a few minutes more, until they collapse. Serve topped with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan and a generous drizzle of good olive oil (or alternately harissa oil/feta).
When you go to reheat leftovers you may need to add water to thin the stew out, and then readjust the seasoning.
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