Curried Lentil & Farro Soup

Adapted from a recipe by Florence Fabricant via the New York Times, January 1996
Serves 4-6
It's hard to believe that a soup this simple, with such basic ingredients could be so satisfying.  This recipe is a standby for me in the winter months and has been for many years.  I love curry, especially 'sweet curry', which is what I use in my version of the recipe {you can use any ground curry you desire}.  Fresh lemon juice is used as a finishing touch, which sets this soup apart from other lentil soups I've tried {I suggest this not be omitted as it's fantastic}.  I always use small lentils for this recipe - either Spanish Pardina or French Green Lentils, as I find they hold their shape well and don't have that grainy taste some lentils can have.  The original recipe calls for pearled barley, which is great to use here too.  If that's what you have available, by all means use it - I've also made this soup with equal success using short grain brown rice. 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup small diced carrots
1/4 cup small diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry lentils
1/3 cup farro {or barley}
1 lemon
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1.  Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan, or dutch oven, over medium heat.  Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add the curry powder and stir to combine well. 
2.  Add the chicken stock; bring the liquid to a boil and stir in the lentils and farro.  Return to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils and farro are tender.  They should still hold their shape and have a slightly chewy texture.  If the liquid boils down too quickly, add in some more stock or water as needed. 
3.  Season the soup with salt and pepper, to taste.  Ladle servings into bowls and squeeze a wedge of lemon into each, or serve with a lemon wedge on the side. 
Note: This soup just gets better as it sits and therefore can be prepared several days ahead of time.  It will thicken considerably once refrigerated and will need to be thinned with water before re-heating.  Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice right before serving. 
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