Monday, 25 February 2008

Two vegetable minestrone

Today is one of those rare days when the weather is worse in France than it is in England. It's simply chucking it down. Cue soup for lunch.

A quick raid on the fridge reveals some outer leek leaves I'd felt moved to save for an occasion like this, some celery (with a lot of leaves which is good) and some chopped serrano ham (like bacon bits or lardons). That looked a bit insubstantial so I also unearthed a large tin of flageolet beans thinking I could use half for the soup and half with tonight's supper of leftover roast lamb.

I simply fried the serrano ham in olive oil for a few minutes (could have used chopped streaky bacon), added the chopped leeks and celery and a pinch of dried thyme and cooked them slowly with the lid on the pan for about 7 or 8 minutes. I then added half the tin of beans - drained and rinsed - and about 600ml vegetable stock made with an organic (but as it turns out rather over-salty) stock cube. However hadn't added any extra salt so OK.

Once that was cooked (another 7-8 minutes) I chucked in a handful of chopped celery leaves and tasted it. Quite a predominant bitter celery note which needed correcting - with what? Diced fresh tomato, ideally, or a dash of passata but none to hand so in went a small squirt of ketchup (I don't want you to think I'm obsessed with ketchup - it's just an ingredient you generally have to hand if there have been kids anywhere in the vicinity.) Worked anyway along with plenty of freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to serve. Could have scattered over some freshly grated parmesan if I'd had some.

When I thought about it afterwards I realised what I'd created was a two vegetable minestrone which you have to admit sounds a lot nicer than leftover vegetable soup . . .

No comments: