Nice and easy minestrone

minestrone

I seem to have been in a soupy mood recently. Must be the onset of autumn.

The basic ‘sweat veg, add stock’ method works as the base for most soups I make. For this version, I did a quick check with Delia. It’s very easy and a good way to use up veg.

First up, fry a little bacon and a chopped onion & garlic until soft. Add diced carrots and a couple of chopped toms, salt & pepper. If you want, mushrooms or celery (food of satan if you ask me!) too. Turn the heat down low and put a lid on the pan for the veg to sweat – draws the juices out of the veg – for about 15 mins.

Stir in a squirt of tomato puree and add about a pint of stock, or more if you want more soup. Let this simmer gently for about 45 mins. Then throw in a good handful of macaroni, a diced courgette, runner beans or shredded cabbage and your herbs of choice – oregano for me in this case –  in 10 mins you’ll have a lovely big pot of soup. Taste for seasoning before serving.

Ham hock from the butcher

The main reason I made the soup was that the butcher at the market on Saturday gave me a recipe for ham hock – great value for 3 quid. In a big pan, cover it in water and add perppercorns, a chopped onion, salt, bay leaves and a slug of booze. Any herbs you may have would be good too, I think a threw in a few fennel seeds too.

Ham hock ready for boiling

Ham hock ready for boiling

It’s a weekend recipe this as the next step is to let it simmer very gently for about two and a half hours. Then the secret to success – let it cool completely in the liquid. You can reheat it in a little of the stock to serve – I had it with new pots and cheese sauce.

The cooking liquid is the most brilliant stock for the minestrone soup and instead of cooking the bacon at the start, add a little of the broken up cooked ham when the pasta goes in.

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Categories: Healthy, Leftovers, Soup, Speedy, Student, Summer

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  1. Setting myself a veggie easyteas challenge « easyteas - June 29, 2012

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