“Mom, why are you cooking all this new stuff?”
Because it’s fun.
I’ve been having a lot of fun going through my magazines and cookbooks and finding things to try. I’ve made a promise to myself to share them on my blog, and right now there is about a two-week gap between the cooking and the posting. I’m hoping to play catch-up here in the next couple of weeks so there won’t be such a time discrepancy. I’ll see what I can do!
I teased you with a picture of this soup in mid-January. It was a cold, wet night, and the weatherman was calling for snow. It had rained that whole previous week, and finally on Thursday we started to see some snowflakes mixing in with the rain. Everyone was cancelling their evening activities and hunkering down. By dinnertime it was clear that the snow everyone was hoping for (or dreading) was not going to materialize. It was a good night for soup.
Earlier that week I had pulled out my October issue of Rachael Ray’s magazine and found this recipe:
BACON, TOMATO, & WHITE BEAN SOUP
1 tbsp EVOO, plus more for drizzling
1/2 lb. smoky bacon, chopped
2 red or white onions, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 fresno chile pepper, thinly sliced
2 large bay leaves
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 can (28 to 32 oz.) san marzano tomatoes
2 cups tomato puree or passata
2 cups chicken stock
1 can (15 oz.) cannelini (white kidney) beans, drained
Grated peccorno-romano, for sprinkling–I used parmesan; much easier to find
Charred bread, such as ciabatta (rubbed with garlic, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper) for mopping–I skipped this
STEP 1 In a medium dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp. EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain off all but 3 tbsp. of the fat.
STEP 2 Add the onions, garlic, chile, bay leaves, thyme, a little salt and lots of pepper. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree and chicken stock, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Stir in the beans and simmer for about 15 minutes.
STEP 3 Serve the soup in shallow bowls. Stop with the cooked bacon, drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve with the bread for mopping.
From Every Day with Rachael Ray, October 2012, page 110
I’ve never been much of a soup cook (I do make a mean chili, and Joe really likes the split pea soup I made last September; the one I have wanted to make for the last month but I keep forgetting to soak the peas the night before), so I don’t have all that much experience with it. Of the few kinds of soups I’ve made, this one is the quickest. Soup, it seems, is usually pretty easy and doesn’t take much time to put together, but it has to cook for an hour or two on the stove. You at least need enough time for that. This soup? Twelve minutes. Even my beef stew, which is simple and easy and great for a weeknight, cooks for 30 minutes once it’s put together.
(See the sandwich? It’s leftover pork chops from the previous night, topped with the grapes I cooked them with and garlic and herb cream cheese from the farmer’s market. Yum-O, as Rach would say!)
The Verdict: Everyone loved it, especially moi. I am definitely making this one again–at least one more time before spring, I hope!