As I have mentioned in previous blog entries, the long intervals between my entries are caused by my fatigue from working long night-shift hours at work. Likewise, my mind’s creative juices have lately been on a critically low level because of the boring routine of my job.
Thankfully, the kitchen still serves as my “art studio” as it serves as my “atelier” for my beautiful works, my dishes.
These past few months, I have been trying my best to perfect my version of the hearty Italian soup dish called Minestrone. I’ve tried making it several times, but I must say the version I made two weeks ago was, by far, the most enjoyable and notable one.
Making minestrone is easy but making it flavorful and rich can be challenging as it may turn out to being a mere mixture of tomato sauce and water, something which all of us should avoid. The key then, is first, to have good, fresh chicken stalk and two, to add in flavorful cured or smoked meats. I prefer adding Italian ham (prosciutto) and the Spanish Pamplona sausage. I also add in a cup of full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon to my soup.
1 liter and a half of chicken stalk
1 packet of Del Monte Tomato Sauce
1 cup of Cabernet Sauvignon
3 tbps of olive oil
1 stick of butter
Left-over pork fat
Bacon strips, Pamplona sausages and Prosciutto
Half a can of corn kernels
2 medium sized potatoes, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 whole onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
A handful of Baguio beans, sliced into one-inch pieces
1 sprig of Thyme
Paprika, Salt and Pepper
In a pot or casserole, sweat the bacon slowly over low fire in minimal oil. Do not brown the bacon strips. Remove the bacon then add in the Pamplona (or Hungarian sausage) as well as other left-over meats such as chicken into the pot.
Remove the assorted meats from the pot and add in the onions. Again, over low fire for around 10-15 minutes, let the onions cook and turn translucent. This is very important, to allow the onions to caramelize. Once the onions have turned soft and seemingly silky, add in the garlic. Again, don’t brown the garlic! At this point, I add in a stick of butter to really give the soup an overwhelming flavor.
Add in the tomatoes and allow these to simmer with the onions and garlic. Once they have softened and the tomato’s juices have inundated the mixture, add in the chopped carrots and potatoes as well as the meats.
After sauteing all the ingredients over medium heat, add in the stock, the wine and water.
Let the entire broth simmer over low fire for around 30 minutes, allowing all the glorious flavors to mix and integrate.
At this point, we add in the sauteed meats as well as a table spoon of paprika. Make sure to stir in the meats.
As it cooks, add in basil, thyme, the corn kernels and also more olive oil if you desire it so.
Add in salt and pepper to taste. This soup is best served hot and prepared in large quantities. Indeed, during these (supposedly!) cooler months, this rich and decadent soup is consoling refuge from all the (unnecessary) sources of stress during the Holiday Seasons (i.e. traffic, sales, gift lists, decorations, scheduling of parties, etc.) Wouldn’t it be so elevating to come home and head to your kitchen to see a soupd ready for your voracious consumption?
Well I think it is. Hahaha!
Go make yourself some hearty Minestrone, a world-renowned Italian dish tweeked for Pinoy preference. This recipe hecho ayer.