Running in the Cold and Toasted Sorghum Soup with Greens and Beans

by Joanne on January 25, 2014

It’s Saturday and almost the end of another week into Boston Training. Sunday will conclude week six and it hasn’t been easy.  The winter weather has challenged almost every run.  I’ve been forced to hit the treadmill a few times.  Fortunately, long runs have been done all on the road, even though they’ve been miserably slow. 

I’m not sure I get the best workout on the treadmill because I crank up the speed in an effort to get it over with quicker.  This means I’m exceeding training paces. Could this lead to injury? Hope not.

The long runs, as I said, have been slow.  Longest run this training period has been 15 miles, completed today, thanks to Shane and Zoey for the company.  Each dog ran 7 1/2.  That’s a good workout for them as well. This is the result.

zoey sleeping after long run

Eyes shut tight


The plan I’m following is the advanced Hanson’s Marathon Method.  I’ve tweaked it so I can build up to a 20 miler instead of the recommended 16.  The way to do this, using their suggested method, is to run farther on your easy days. As long as the long run is within 30% of the total weekly mileage, it’s safe.


Running six days a week is keeping my legs tired.  It’s surprising when I actually have a day when my pace hits the mark.  I have to change things up with each marathon training season otherwise I’ll get bored.  My fingers and toes are crossed that this plan allows me to have the best Boston Marathon yet. 

Toasted Grains.

A recipe found in BonAppetit for Toasted Spelt and inspired by the classic Italian soup, Pasta e Fagiole.  I didn’t have Spelt but I did have an unopened package of Bob’s Red Mill  Sorghum.  I’ve never used Sorghum before and didn’t know what to expect but the grain used in this recipe should stay chewy.  Sorghum will remain chewy when cooked.  It turned out to be an excellent choice. 

Sorghum Soup and pumpkin crunch2

Sorghum originated in Africa then spread throughout the Middle East and Asia.  By ancient trade routes, it went to the Arabian Peninsula, India and China.  Sorghum is still a staple food in India and Africa.  It’s a hearty grain which will remain chewy and make it perfect for use in pilafs and salads.  You might even pop it like popcorn which is called jowar dhani in India, although a much smaller kernel than corn.

Since this grain was new to me, I wanted to taste it before making a huge pot of soup with it.  So I decided to try the “Popcorn” method of cooking sorghum. 

I put 1/4 cup in a brown paper lunch bag, folded over the top, and microwaved it for 3 minutes. 

Sorghum Soup and pumpkin crunch6

It looks like miniature popcorn!  It tastes like it as well. 

Sorghum Soup and pumpkin crunch15

Now the soup.  Toasted Sorghum Soup with Greens and Beans

Sorghum Soup and pumpkin crunch20


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 3 oz Light Life Vegetarian Ham – substitute for panetta
  • 1 cup sorghum
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • salt to taste
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 small heads washed escarole, chopped
  • 15 ox can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • Parmesan cheese to serve.

*Can use spelt, farro, or wheat berries

Heat 2 TBS oil in large soup pot.  Add vegetarian ham and cook about 3 minutes. Add the sorghum and cook, stir constantly for another 3 minutes.

Add the onion, fennel, carrot, celery and garlic, season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stir occasionally, until vegetables are soft about 8 minutes. 

Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute.

Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 70 minutes until tender.

Stir in escarole and beans. Cook for 8 minutes. Serve in bowls topped with parmesan cheese.

Sorghum Soup and pumpkin crunch21

Very good. I think my favorite part of this soup is the escarole and beans.  The sorghum kind of disappeared into the whole mix but it’s there for fiber, protein and other nutrients.

Sorghum Soup and pumpkin crunch7

What other ancient grains do you cook with?

Have you ever tried puffing grains at home?  I was looking up how to puff quinoa to use it in baking to add protein and fiber to baked goods.

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  • At 2014.01.27 04:27, Mary said:

    It takes a lot to exhaust a border collie, good job! I often skate six days a week so I know what that feels like to have your legs tired almost all the time. I had a number of days off this last week, though, and I’m feeling so much more rested. I hope you can keep up your training schedule and prepare the way you want to for the big race. I’ve never cooked with sorghum but the soup looks healthy, hearty and perfect for a cold January. I do use quinoa and black and red rice.

    • At 2014.01.27 15:58, Joanne said:

      It DOES take a lot to exhaust Zoey but it doesn’t last long. Give her an hours sleep and she’s ready to go again.

    • At 2014.01.27 08:36, Heather said:

      Your pups are so cute. I can only get mine to run a mile! 🙂

      • At 2014.01.27 15:59, Joanne said:

        Your pups are so little. Imagine how many little steps those legs take in a mile. That would be a good run for them. 🙂

      • At 2014.01.27 09:09, Ali @ Peaches and Football said:

        Wow – I’ve never cooked with sorghum but I never would have guessed it looked like popcorn. That’s so cool! Your dogs are so lucky to have you to take them for long runs. I’m sure it keeps them out of trouble too. 🙂

        • At 2014.01.27 16:00, Joanne said:

          I had never cooked with it either. Turned out really good. There’s substance to it and a good mouth feel.
          Zoey thinks she’s lucky to run, Shane however, not so much. I think he’s got to the point of thinking it’s a real chore.

          • At 2014.01.28 21:20, Hannah said:

            It just occurred to me that I’ve only had sorghum flour and popped sorghum before- Never just the plain cooked grain. I know I like the flavor well enough, and that texture sounds like something I’d love! Thank you for opening my eyes to that option that was sitting right in front of my nose.

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