This soup is hearty enough to be a complete meal, but we'd be lying if we said we didn't enjoy it with a slice of thick crusty bread. Pre-cooked Wheat Berries and Navy Beans come in handy here.
White Bean & Wheat Berry Soup
1.5 cups dry Flourist Navy Beans, soaked and cooked
1.5 cups dry Flourist Wheat Berries, cooked for 1 hour
8 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, hard rinds cut off and reserved
¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tsp salt, more to taste
1 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped, fronds roughly chopped and reserved
3 celery stalks, sliced 1/2-inch thick
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon chili flakes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Leaves from 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 large lemon
Warm the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season generously with 2 tsp salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the fennel. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the fennel is softened and the onion is lightly browned, about 5 more minutes. Add the celery and garlic, and cook, stirring, until just softened, about 1 minute. Add the fennel seeds and red pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until combined and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the thyme and the wine and let the wine bubble until the pan is almost dry, about 2 minutes.
Before serving, remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice, and reserved fennel fronds. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve in bowls topped generously with grated parmesan cheese.