Top | Vegetable Soups From Deborah Madison's Kitchen

Farro and Chickpea Soup

(recipe, Deborah Madison)


This soup is almost monastic in character with its whole grains of farro and chickpeas seasoned only with olive oil and rosemary. But perhaps it's because of its austerity that it manages to be such a satisfying soup. While my preference is to cook the chickpeas from scratch, loading up the cooking water with garlic, sage, parsley, and such so that in the end it serves as a stock, this version uses organic canned chickpeas and stock or broth, plus a chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind for flavor. The farro requires a soak but only 20 to 30 minutes to cook.


    1. 1½ cups farro, soaked for an hour or longer in cold water
    2. 2 to 4 Tbsp. olive oil
    3. 1 onion, finely chopped
    4. 1 celery rib, finely diced
    5. 2 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
    6. 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
    7. 3 bay leaves
    8. 1 plump garlic clove, peeled
    9. Chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
    10. 6 cups water or stock
    11. 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, preferably organic
    1. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    2. Extra-virgin olive oil
    3. 1 tsp. minced rosemary
    4. Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


    1. Make the soup: Drain the farro. Heat the oil in a wide soup pot and add the onion, celery, rosemary, parsley, and bay leaves. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cheese rind, drained farro, and water or stock. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and simmer until the farro is tender, about 20 minutes.
    2. If using organic canned chickpeas, strain the liquid into the soup. Cover the chickpeas with cool water, gently rub them together to loosen the skins, and discard them as they float to the surface. Then add the skinned chickpeas to the soup. They taste better and look nicer this way.
    3. To serve: Taste for salt and season with pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle over some olive oil, add the rosemary, and grate in a little cheese.