Every year, at contributor Jim Dixon's annual Olive Oil Garage Sale, he made his famous soup to warm the souls of shoppers willing to brave freezing temperatures to attend the sale in his driveway. Now that he's moved inside, he still makes the soup and hands it out for free to his customers to thank them for their support.
Garage Sale Soup
Soak a cup or so each of Bluebird Grain Farms farro and Haricot Farms red beans in plenty of water for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. Drain and discard the soaking water.
Chop an onion, a few stalks of celery, and a couple of carrots; cook them in a healthy glug of extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes. Add half a head of green cabbage, coarsely chopped, and a bunch of cavalo nero (aka Tuscan kale, usually sold as “lacinato” kale, a word I don’t like to use since it’s mispelled Italian; should be lacianato for "lacy"). Add the soaked beans and farro.
Pour in enough water to cover the vegetables and heat until it starts to bubble. Peel and cube a couple of yellow potatoes, add them along with a large can of diced tomatoes. Salt to taste, add a good pinch or two of Pantellerian oregano, cover, and simmer for at least an hour or until the beans and farro are tender.
Stir in about a cup of good polenta, Ayers Creek if you can get it. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook for another hour. Taste, add salt if necessary, and if the soup seems flat, add a small splash of Katz Gravenstein Apple Cider or Sparkling Wine vinegar. Sometimes a little acid is just the right thing, but go easy and taste. Like all soups, this will be better the second day.