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Zuppa di Farro (Farro Soup) – slow cooker method (6-8 hours approximately)

submitted by Kathleen Carter of High Point, NC

This is one of my favorite one-bowl meals for a winter’s night! Zuppa di Farro uses Tuscan black kale (cavolo nero) and Peterson Farm’s tasty chicken meat. It is an example of basic country cooking of the type that goes on in farm kitchens in Tuscany and Umbria. This type of cooking is easy to adapt to NC kitchens. The trick to good Tuscan country food is to use food that is local, seasonal and as fresh as possible – and not to go too heavy on the tomato sauce, cheese, and garlic that many Americans think of when they think of Italian food.


Zuppa di Farro (Farro Soup) – slow cooker method (6-8 hours approximately)

3 cloves garlic, sliced
2-3 onions, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped sweet peppers
1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
olive oil for sauteeing
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 2 tablespoons pesto – can also use 1 T. dried basil)
1 quart canned tomatoes, crushed, chopped or whole
1 cup white wine (or to taste – substitute white grape juice or water if you do not have wine)
4 cups water
1-1/2 cups whole farro grain (also called spelt, a low-gluten wheat)
2 carrots, sliced
2-3 cups coarsely chopped cavolo nero (black Tuscan kale – other varieties can be substituted but this holds its color well)
other winter vegetables as available: broccoli rabe, savoy cabbage, etc. – chop coarsely
salt, pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil and parmigiano cheese for garnishing (or other hard aged cheese that can be shaved or grated)

Saute garlic, onions, peppers, mushrooms over medium heat. Place in a large slow cooker. Brown chicken pieces in same pan, then place them in the slow cooker too. Add basil, tomatoes, white wine, water, farro.

Cover slow cooker with lid and set on “high” for 4-6 hours or until chicken is tender and farro is “al dente” (cooked but a little chewy). Time will vary with size and model of slow cooker.

Remove chicken pieces from pot, remove skin, slide meat off bones, and return the chicken meat to the pot.

Add carrots, black Tuscan kale, any other winter vegetables you care to use. Cook on “low” another 2 hours, or until kale has become tender enough to eat.

Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top, shaved or grated parmagiano cheese as garnish, and a slice of hearty bread for a filling winter meal. Leftovers can be frozen in meal-sized portions. Makes a big pot of soup, number of servings varying based on appetite.

Note: Zuppa di farro is a traditional wintertime soup in rural Tuscany. The Tuscan country cook, like country cooks everywhere, uses fresh, local ingredients when possible and is not bound to follow recipes exactly. Different meats can be used (pork and beef are good) or the soup can be entirely meatless (in this case use vegetable broth instead of water for more flavor). Farro (spelt) is available locally, but if you can’t find it, whole barley grain (not the quick-cook kind) makes an excellent substitute.

Fresh Eggs

Acquacotta – 6 servings

submitted by Kathleen Carter of High Point, NC

Acquacotta uses Peterson Farm delicious fresh eggs and is another example of basic country cooking from farm kitchens in Tuscany and Umbria. It is easy to adapt to NC kitchens. Again, the trick to good Tuscan country food is to use food that is local, seasonal and as fresh as possible – and not to go too heavy on the tomato sauce, cheese, and garlic that many Americans think of when they think of Italian food.

Acquacotta – 6 servings

Acquacotta (literally “cooked water”) is a country farm soup from Tuscany. If you like poached eggs in the morning, you will like this soup! It’s a great way to enjoy the delicious flavor and rich color of farm-fresh eggs from free-range chickens. I’ve also added spinach to the broth when I’ve had it on hand, and it’s a perfect ingredient that complements the eggs, tomatoes and basil.

6 slices of stale or toasted bread.
3 large onions
1 16-oz jar or can of canned tomatoes (in summer, 2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes)
a few basil leaves, fresh or salt-cured* (teaspoon of pesto can also be used)
stalk of celery
3-4 cups of water
6 fresh eggs
grated pecorino or parmigiano cheese
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Sautee thinly sliced onion in olive oil over low heat until onions are soft and are starting to break up. Add tomatoes, basil (either whole leaves or coarsely chopped), celery. Simmer gently for 30 minutes and then add water. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

One at a time, break eggs into a cup or small bowl and then slide each egg separately into the soup without breaking the yolk. Poach eggs in the soup for about 3-4 minutes.

Place toasted bread in each bowl, cover the bread with grated cheese, use a slotted spoon to place one egg on top of each bread slice, and pour the hot soup over the top. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and additional cheese sprinkled on top as desired.

*Salt curing is an old method of preserving basil (in addition to drying or making into pesto). At harvest in the summertime, alternate layers of whole fresh basil leaves and salt until your container is full. I use a one-pint glass bowl with lid. This, together with frozen pesto, is plenty to get me through to next summer. Store in refrigerator; may have to crack the lid of the container open from time to time to allow brining liquid to evaporate a bit. To use, remove basil leaves from brine pack and rinse briefly. Their flavor will be very close to that of fresh summertime basil. Good for use in dishes with brief cooking times where larger bits of leaves balance the other ingredients.


Stir Fry Beef

beef, pepper and onion strips stir fried

Stir Fry Beef

1 lb. Peterson Farm Flank Steak trimmed and sliced in 1/4″ strips
Red or green pepper sliced to 1/4″ strips
1/2 onion sliced to 1/8″ strips
1/2 lb. mushrooms cleaned and sliced to 1/8″ thick
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 t. fresh ginger grated fine
1 large fresh garlic clove grated fine
1/4 cup canola oil

2 T. soy sauce
1/4 c. spring water cold
1 T. sweet Vermouth or Maderia wine
2 T corn starch
Stir to mix and again before adding to stir fry mixture

Trim all fat and membrane from flank steak with thin sharp knife. This turns chewy if not removed. Slice AGAINST the grain or across the long muscle texture of the steak 90˚ not along it. This is also important to reduce chewy texture of cut. Marinate at least 1 hour in 1/8 c. soy, ginger and garlic.

Slice vegetables. Heat large pan to med hi and add 1/2 of the oil. Add steak and fry until all water is gone from the pan and meat sizzles to brown about 1-2 minutes. Remove to serving bowl.

Add 1/2 oil and stir and fry onion and peppers 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and fry 5 more minutes. Add meat mixture and ‘sauce’ stirring until thick -about 30 sec. to 1 minute. Remove to serving bowl.

Serve over rice. Serves 4.

Microwave Chinese restaurant rice
1 cup white rice
2 cup cold spring water
Place in microwave in medium size glass bowl with glass plate lid opened slightly for ventilation. Cook on hi for 16 minutes.

Submitted by Robbin Baker info@fattmelon.com