Tag Archives: Soups of Italy

Soup kitchen

detail from Johann Georg Sturm’s 1796 Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen

Soooooo….

When you realize that you have six pounds of parsnips, and the odd roast turkey carcass and the freezer needs defrosting (because the freezer is old enough to be NOT frost-free) and the weather is also not frost-free….time to make some soup.

You work in a kitchen, sometimes you make soup.

Soup Kitchen.

I’ve had some great soup gurus – early on Anna Thomas…

anna-thomas-2016

Anna Thomas

love-soup

I started with the soup basics in Vegetarian Epicure…This is only soups.

There are also the ethnic soups that are shades of my childhood, what we ate and what we talked about…

soups-of-italy

I’ve mentioned this before..still a page turner

Barbara Kafka has a soup book called, “Soup : A Way of Life”.

soup-babara-kafta

Not to be confused with

kafkas-soup

But I digress….

 

But most of the time I make soup by assembling the likely ingredients – in some cases the Most Likely ingredients – and then think about how they go together, and what needs to be added to make them one soup and not a bunch of leftovers.The soupness helps to bring things together, but the right accent can make things great.

There’s also the internet …..

Most of the parsnip soup recipes called for milk or cream, and there are allergy issues with dairy AND it would mean a trip to the store….and  wants to go to the store for ONE THING? And who comes back from the store with one thing?????.

But the internet had quite a few vegan veggie soups, many of which included cashews, which bring up nut issues   ….but also, I had NO cashews and then I would have to go to the store for one thing….back to that.

Then there were a raft  of soup recipes where the roots were roasted and pureed.

Roasting, easy-peasy.

Pureeing….there’s no blender in the kitchen, but boiling the roasted roots in broth makes mashing a really possibility.

Parsnips are peeled and cut. The better part of a head of garlic, peeled. All the veggies tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Put in a hot oven til fork tender, 350° oven about an hour, fork very tender.

Cool and save.

Soup Day morning, add 5 quarts broth made from the turkey carcass and a big sprig of rosemary. Bring to a boil.

Simmer for an hour, mash the parsnips to thicken it up. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Bring to a bowl.

Makes 15 servings.

parsnips-1

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Filed under Eating, Influencers, Soup, winter

Another Souper Sunday

It started with a leek….

Well, there’s almost never just one of them….

Leeks in the garden - some are flowering and forming seed heads - this is not the optimal time to harvest them. Looks like August to me. If you plant them in September, you can eat them all winter, you just have to wait for the ground to thaw to harvest them. Or plant them in a hoop house. They grow in the cold, just slowly.

Leeks in the garden – some are flowering and forming seed heads – this is not the optimal time to harvest them. Looks like August to me. If you plant them in September, you can eat them all winter, you just have to wait for the ground to thaw to harvest them. Or plant them in a hoop house. They grow in the cold, just slowly.

except sometimes in a painting

Still Life with Copper Pan - and one leek - Jean-Simeon Chardin - 18th century

Still Life with Copper Pan – and one leek – Jean-Simeon Chardin – 18th century

I had thought to make the bright green leek soup that had been in the New York Times last Wednesday.

leek soup NYT Jan 2015 07KITCH-articleLarge

This just looks so fresh and GREEN…so I went looking for leeks a the Farmer’s Market

I found leeks at the Farmer’s Farmer’s Market, and of course, couldn’t remember anything else that was in the soup…it was fresh spinach, but I’m pretty sure that I didn’t see any of that. Fresh pea shoots, yes, and fresh other greens, but not spinach.

Since the Soups of Italy was still out on the table…and the Ancient Romans ate leeks  or porri I was sure there’d be at least one recipe.

I was surprised that there was this one, that judging from the smudges I have made at least once, that I had no memory of making at all.   And if you can see something in your mind’s eye, can you taste something in your mind’s eye, can you taste something in your mind’s mouth? Anyhow, it looked like it would taste good.

AND

I already had everything on hand – no need to go out in the cold for a grocery run!

This week’s soup:

Minestra di Patate e Porri

Potato and Leek Soup

Ingredienti:


Potatoes – 1-1 ½ #

Leeks – 2 #

Broth – 5-6 cups (or water)

Fettucinne – 6 oz dried/12 oz fresh

Bacon (2 strips smoky), water, butter, oil, celery rib, onion, garlic, sage leaves, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Elementi:

Sapori

2 strips smoky bacon

1 # potatoes

1 # leeks

Salt

  1. In large heavy bottom pan, cook the bacon over medium high heat.
  2. Wash, peel and dice the potatoes. (Save the peels for broth making)
  3. Rinse and thinly slice the white and light green parts of the leeks.
  4. When the bacon strips are crispy, remove from the pot and put aside. Add the potato and leeks to the bacon grease and sprinkle with salt.
  5. Mix everything well and then add enough water to cover.
  6. Bring to a simmer, then cover the pot, keeping to a simmer, for 30 minutes. A hard boil is going to make the potatoes pasty, as in wall-paper paste pasty, so keep the heat gentle throughout.
  7. When they are cooled somewhat, puree them before adding them to the soup pot, although I often forget this step and have never regretted it. The potatoes are pretty cooked down and the leeks soft and lovely, and the back of a wooden spoon breaks things down and keeps things interesting at the same time.

Battuto

1 # leeks

1 medium onion

1 celery rib

1 garlic clove

2-4 sage leaves

1 Tbl butter

2 Tbl oil

  1. Rinse well and thinly slice the 2nd pound of leeks, white and light green parts.
  2. Finely dice together the onion, the celery rib, the garlic clove and the sage leaves.
  3. Heat the oil and butter together in a heavy bottom soup pot. Add the leeks and the diced onion, celery, garlic and sage. Give them about 5 minute a few quick stirs until things softens and get fragrant.

Brodo

5-6 cups broth

  1. Add the broth to the pot. Add the cooked potato and leeks to the pot. Stir everything well. Bring to a gentle simmer, and keep partially covered at a simmer for 30 minutes.

Condimenti

6 oz dried fettuccine or 12 oz fresh, cut into 2” pieces

¼ C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cooked bacon, crumbled

  1. Put on a pot of salted water to cook the pasta – OK – reality check –IF you are going to serve and gobble down every last drop of this soup in the next hour or so, by all means, drop your store-boughten boxed dried little noodles bits into the soup and serve away….but IF you went to the bother of making noodles or the expense of buying fresh, take the time and trouble to boil them separately, and IF you’re looking at more soup then will be eaten at one meal and will have a leftover plan, then boil them separately. The combination of long cooked potatoes and cooled down pasta leads to a fairly nasty blob of starchy food-like-stuff by the time it cools down. If on the other hand, you have no interest in flavor or texture, just calories when you eat, I can’t imagine why you’re reading recipes in the first place and there are plenty of cans and containers of things on the grocery store shelves that you can heat in the microwave and eat directly from in less time than it took you to read this far. But it takes all kinds, and there’s room for everyone at the table who will please observe the Clean Hands/Clean Behavior Rule.
  2. Back to the recipe- put a pot of water on to boil, cook the fettuccine al dente, drain well.
  3. Add the fettuccine to the soup.
  4. Serve the soup with the grated cheese and crumbled bacon.

4-6 servings.

Adapted from Minestra di Lasagnette e Porri in Soups of Italy, pp. 170-1.

Soups of Italy

Soups of Italy

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Souper Sundays

Since Winter is once more upon us, and Since that means colddddddd weather, and Since Soup is Good Food….

And a pot of soup made on Sunday is lunch and quick supper through the week. Or freezer fodder, to be mined and microwaved at nearly a moment’s notice.

Soups of Italy

Norma Wasserman-Miller Soups of Italy. William Morrow and Co 1998. I’ve had my copy since 2000.

130 soup recipes, each with a story…and sooo many happy endings

Soup for the year round, but I spend the most time with this book in the Winter

Norma writes:

Above all else, soup remains una cucina di casa, “a cuisine of the home.” Indeed, it was the homes and kitchens of so many gracious Italian friends and professional cooks that inspired the recipes and techniques for this book. The numerous recipes I came across had a notable lack of measurements and a heavy reliance on the words in stagione, “in season.” Perhaps this is what I love most about Italian soup cookery – a reliance on simple, good ingredients along with the inventiveness to effortlessly turn them into flavorful soups with character and individuality.

Itroduzione, p. 3.

Norma Wasserman-Miller

Norma Wasserman- Miller . She paints in London now.

Here are the component parts of the soup story:

Battuto – often soffritto – that is the aromatic/ soffritto just means ‘fried’. There are 3 universal solvents – one of them is oil – onions, garlic, celery, fennel, carrots, peppers, even parsley heated in some oil, smells good, tastes, good, this is the base

Sapori – the main ingredients, the big taste.

Brodo – the liquid – don’t overlook water as a broth ; broth, meat or veg  -Water is the second universal solvent…alcohol is the third, so a little wine can boost everything else up

Condimenti – the things added at the end, but also the garnishes and accompaniments – fresh herbs, slices of bread, freshly grated cheese; a dash of vinegar, balsamic or otherwise, or a squeeze of citrus liven things up nicely … also, the things you often add to the bowl and not the pot.

But the lentil soup I made on this first weekend of the New Year, was from somewhere else, but follows the Soups of Italy game plan.

Lentil Soup with Sausage and Tomato

3 Tbl olive oil

1# fresh Italian sausage, either sweet or hot

1 onion

2 carrots

2 celery ribs

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

4 garlic cloves

2 Quarts low sodium broth (I used 2 boxes of the chicken broth with wine and herbs. You can also use homemade broth, just add a slug of wine (say 4-8 ounces)

1 28 oz can diced plum tomatoes (or whole, and then break them up)

2 C lentils – pick through them and rinse them

1 Tbl Dijon mustard

½ C chopped fresh parsley (the bunches in the grocery store have been all over the place this winter – I’ve had some bunches that were big enough to be a bride’s bouquet and others closer to boutonnière size – flat or curly, cook’s choice, and save the stems for soup stock)

  1. Heat 1 Tbl of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. When it shimmers, add the sausages and cook them until they are brown all over, 7-10 minutes.
  2. Mince the onion; peel and chop the carrots and chop the celery – you can include the leaves.
  3. Remove sausages to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  4. Add the remaining 2 Tbl of oil to the pot and then the chopped onion, carrot, celery. Add the bay leaves and ½ tsp salt.
  5. Stir frequently, until it is all light golden and fragrant.
  6. Mince the garlic (I confess, I use a press) and add to the pot, stirring for about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the broth (wine if you’re using), the canned tomatoes (squeeze the whole ones through your fingers so they don’t turn into little red rubber balls bobbing along in the soup, and the juice of the tomatoes), and the rinsed lentils to the pot.
  8. Add 1 tsp salt and pepper (this salt is to season the lentils – if you are not using a low sodium broth you can skip this step)
  9. Increase heat and bring to a boil. When boiling, cover and reduce heat for a simmer.
  10. Simmer for 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  11. Meanwhile, cut the sausages into ½ inch thick slices.
  12. When the lentils are tender, remove and discard the bay leaves.
  13. Stir in the Dijon mustard, add the sausage slices and cook until the sausage is heated thoroughly, about 5 minutes.
  14. Add the chopped parsley, adjust seasoning, and serve.

Adapted from Stand-Up Soups, Adam Reid in the Boston Globe Magazine, 2-2-2014, p. 22, which was adapted from New England Soup Factory Cookbook by Marjorie Drucker and Clara Silverstein.

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Filed under Influencers, Soup