Sunday, December 5, 2010

Peasant Soup

This is one of those soups that was made for me in my childhood, but I have not had in a long time. It was also one of Emily's favorites - and it's nice to feel a little closer to her memory some days. While in the past, I've made vegetarian versions, this is the first time I've made it with the pork it calls for. I have to say, I'm pretty blown away. The perfect hearty soup for a cold, blustery wintry day.

Peasant Soup
from The Silver Palate

1 1/2 c beans (canned or cooked dry beans)
4 Tbs bacon fat (or butter)
1 c finely chopped yellow onions
3 leeks, white part only, thoroughly cleaned and thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 tsp dry thyme
1 bay leaf
8 c chicken stock
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 ham hock
1/2 small white cabbage, shredded
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1.2 c chopped Italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Melt bacon fat in large heavy soup pot (our cast-iron dutch oven was great for this). Add onion, leeks, celery and carrots and cook, covered over low heat until the vegetables are tender and lightly colored, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the thyme bay leaf and a grinding of black pepper, and pour in the stock. Add parsnips and ham hock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 40 minutes.Remove ham hock and allow to cool slightly. Cut the meat off the bone into chunks and return meat to the pot.

Add cabbage, garlic and parsley and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Taste, correct seasoning and serve immediately.

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