Saturday, December 10, 2011

Minestrone Soup

I was baking today for Christmas so dinner was a nice homemade soup.  There are a lot of ingredients but it is very simple to make.


6 slices of pancetta
1 1/2 cup of chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 leaves of Swiss chard, stem removed and sliced into shreds
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
half a large can of diced tomatoes
sprig of rosemary
1 can of white navy beans
1 large tetrapak of beef broth
rind of Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp of fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Cook the pancetta until crisp.  If you don't have pancetta, you can use about 4 slices of bacon but the pancetta tastes better.  Take the pancetta out and drain on a paper towel.

Into the fat, add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic.  Saute for about 10 minutes.  Break up the pancetta into the pot.  Then add Swiss chard (if you don't like Swiss chard, use any greens such as spinach) and potatoes and saute this for a couple of minutes.  Now add half a can of tomatoes with most of the juice.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.

While it is simmering, open and rinse your can of beans.  Put half them in the food processor with a little broth and process to a paste (I used a measuring cup and my hand blender as it's easier to clean).  This slurry is what you are going to use to thicken the soup.  So now add this to the soup, in addition to the broth, your sprig of fresh rosemary and the rind from a piece of Parmesan.  If you don't have the Parmesan, you can omit it but it adds a rich and salty flavour to the soup.  I always like to save rinds for something like this.

Now let the soup simmer until the veg are tender.  Once it is done, remove the rosemary stalk and Parmesan rind.  Add the beans and parsley and heat through.  Season with salt and pepper but taste the soup first.  Pancetta and Parmesan can make it salty so I didn't add any salt.  This recipe is going to feed about 6 and is a really nice hearty soup.  Something I really appreciate on these cold winter days.  I hope you enjoy it..

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