Chicken, Fennel and Farro Soup

Serves 4


1 leek or small onion, finely sliced

1 clove of garlic, whole but squashed

1/2 fennel bulb (or 1 whole if small), thinly sliced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white wine (or water)

1-2 fresh or dried bay leaves

1-2 chicken marylands:  whole-drumstick & thigh


Handful of chopped green vegetables, optional (this is lovely with just fennel but if you want to up the greens, do; I added 1 small young zucchini and a few leaves of chard)

Handful of parsley or other fresh herbs such as thyme or oregano, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Handful of farro (or rice or barley)

Salt and pepper to taste


Place the leek, garlic, fennel and olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add a good pinch of salt. Over medium heat, cook stirring occasionally until the leek is limp and the garlic is fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. It’s important not to let anything brown, but if you spy some browning happening earlier, add a splash of wine or water to the pot and let it simmer away for 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves and marylands, then pour in enough water to cover them. Cover with a lid and let simmer on the lowest heat until the meat begins to pull away from the bone, about 1 hour. About halfway through, add the farro to the pot.

Remove the marylands and let them cool slightly on a chopping board before pulling off the meat and shredding it. While you’re doing that, throw in the greens and let them cook for about 10 minutes. Adjust your seasoning – I quite like a lot of pepper in this – and finish with the juice from a lemon and fresh herbs.