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Who's Cooking: Nancy Silverman of Southampton

Attorney Nancy Silverman, of Southampton, in her kitchen

Attorney Nancy Silverman, of Southampton, in her kitchen with lentil soup with farro and spinach. (Nov. 4, 2011) Credit: Daniel Brennan

NANCY SILVERMAN

An attorney, she lives in Southampton with her husband, Jake Wilson, and their two teenage daughters.

You are known for your soups and stews. What do you look for in a soup recipe at this time of year?I like a soup that has healthy grains and/or beans and some good winter vegetables, a one-dish meal. That's especially important now that my children are teenagers. I want to make sure they're eating well even when they're on the run.

What is farro, which you use in this recipe? Farro is an ancient grain, related to wheat, and still very popular in Italy. I like its nutty flavor and slightly crunchy texture. In the past, I've mail-ordered it in large quantities, but now I'm buying it at Citarella in Bridgehampton.

How do you cook farro? You can cook it like pasta or rice, in abundant liquid. The only tricky thing is that I've found that cooking time varies from one box to the next. But that's OK. You just have to keep tasting and cooking until it is tender.

Why do you put the spinach in at the last minute? I like the contrast between the long-cooked lentils and farro and the quick-cooking bright green spinach. It adds a fresh element to the soup. The spinach takes just a few seconds to wilt and become tender, so I wait until the soup is basically ready, and we're ready to eat, to stir it in.

Do you rely on any special equipment when making a soup? I love my Le Creuset cast-iron enamel Dutch oven. When I break it out, we know it's soup season.

You work in Riverhead, where there is some good ethnic food shopping. What are some of your favorite places? Right now, my favorite place is Turkuaz, a Turkish restaurant in downtown Riverhead where you can also buy ingredients like coarse bulgur, which is hard to find in supermarkets, and some good Turkish-style cheeses.

LENTIL SOUP WITH FARRO
AND SPINACH

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup farro, rinsed
1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
Salt
Ground black pepper
8 ounces baby spinach, chopped

1. Heat olive oil in stockpot on medium-low flame. Add carrots and onion and saute until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add curry powder and stir to coat. Add farro and lentils to pot. Stir to coat.

2. Add broth and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to simmer, cover and cook until farro is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Remove pot from heat and stir in spinach. Cover and let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Stir and serve with crusty bread and/or salad. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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