Love Your Food!
There are benefits and drawbacks to having a teeny tiny apartment. Like having a washer/dryer right next to your stove. Convenient, yes, but rather odd. I used to joke about cooking dryer chicken and gripe over the lack of counter space. I now have to admit that I have come to enjoy the fact that I can get a load of laundry done while I cook. Multitasking is, after all, our modern day raison d’etre.
One fine evening, inspired by the ever slight dip in temperature I got into soup making mode. One of my favourite soups is a hearty Pistou that my dad makes. It’s a minestrone of sorts served with a dollop of basil pesto. For some reason I always thought it was complicated and resigned to stealing it out of his freezer (he is the king of triple batches). But I have come to realize that it is no more difficult than making chicken soup – which I do all the time. The only additional difficulty is buying a ham hock but if you are willing to make a trip to St. Lawrence Market or your local butcher shop it shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, there’s another way of multitasking – getting exercise and your groceries in one outing!
Like all homemade soups it is a two part process. First the stock, then the rest. The good news is that even one batch of this soup will give you a large number of servings. Freeze them and you’ve got a hearty, healthy and complete meal just a thaw away!
So where, you might be thinking, is the laundry connection? Well, as it turns out, when you make soup and dry your clothes at the same time the result is soup scented laundry! Oh well, it’s damn good soup!
Dad’s Soupe au Pistou
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 c celery, diced
6-8 c pork hock stock (one pot of homemade stock)
meat from 1 ham hock
1 c potatoes, cubed
1 c leeks, chopped
1 c green beans, chopped
1 c tomatoes. chopped
1 c zucchini, diced
1 c (or 1 can) cannelini or navy beans, rinsed
1 c (or 1 can) kidney beans, rinsed
Basil Pesto for serving (make your own or try this one)
Saute garlic, onion, and celery in oil until tender. Add stock, bring to a simmer. Add ham, leeks, all beans, and potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Add tomatoes and zucchini and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve with a generous spoonful of pesto.
Tip: freeze your pesto in an ice cube tray and when you’re soup is ready all you have to do is drop a cube in!
Ham Hock Stock:
1 pork hock
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
1 onion, quartered
3 stalks celery (or the leftover middle bit you never eat!)
2 carrots, roughly chopped
Simmer all ingredients in enough water to cover for 2 hours. Strain and dice meat, removing fatty bits. The meat should fall right off the bone! Refrigerate stock overnight and skim fat off the top before making your soup.
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Love Your Food!