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Eight is Enough

March 25, 2015

Spring is the wrong word. I’m still following the advice of Kurt Vonnegut and considering this to be the unlocking. And it’s true. The snow is melting away. All the ice is off the driveway. There’s only a little bit left on a shady corner of our roof and you can spy a small amount more in a short length of the gutter.

There is an upside to below freezing temperatures in late March. It gives you a way to use up the last of your winter storage vegetables in one final, mega pot of soup.

I may not have gotten all the vegetables in the pot, but I came awfully close. And it used up a bunch of odds and ends. Plus I got to use two of the new tools I acquired this winter. Here’s how it went down.

Let’s call this Italian end-of-winter soup.

1/4 cup of olive oil
1.5 Yellow onion
1 Yellow carrot
4 Parsnips
1 Celery root
1 Daikon radish (why not?)
6 Yukon Gold potatoes
5 cloves of garlic
1 pound of dried white beans
2 Parm-Reg rinds
Chicken stock

Soften all the veg in oil with plenty of salt.
Put in the beans, cheese rinds, stock and water.
Pressure cook on high for an hour.

Remove the cheese rinds and eat them all yourself with good coarse salt.
Blend everything else into a thick puree (I used my new immersion blender).

Top with the pancetta Jon in Albany makes, if you can find some at your local Jon in Albany charcuterie store. Holy cow, that man makes some great pancetta. Actually, Mrs. Fussy likes the stuff so much that if Jon can teach me how to make it at home, it could be the gateway meat for my own home curing projects. We’ll have to wait and see.

But let me tell you, nothing elevates a simple bean soup than to have it crowned with gorgeously crisp and meaty lardons.

This soup was served with rye berries. I had picked up a cup of the grain at Honest Weight a while back, and it has sat in the pantry going unused. After a few soaks in changes of cold water, and a good rinse, the “berries” got simmered in some salted water flavored with some aromatics. Once tender (after about an hour) I dressed the rye with some toasted hazelnut oil and more salt to taste.

Mrs. Fussy really enjoyed the contrast in texture between the vegetable puree, the pop of the simmered grain, and the crunch of the pancetta to be quite pleasing indeed.

It actually felt more like late fall than deep winter. I’m thinking it was the hazelnut oil.

Now all I have to do is get rid of a small cabbage, those watermelon radishes, and a few last beets. Onions, potatoes, and carrots are good for all seasons. Those are the forever foods. And it’s a good thing. I love those forever foods and will never tire of them.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2015 10:43 am

    I must have 10 Parm-Reg rinds in my freezer. And I swear, every single time I make soup I forget to throw one in!

  2. March 26, 2015 11:14 pm

    Glad you like the pancetta. I’ve been using it in my Utica Greens.

    The hardest part of making is finding good pork belly and that has been getting easier. It’s better if you can dry it out a little bit, but it is still really good if you can’t. This round, I left the pancetta in an unplugged wine cooler in the basement to dry out a little. The basement temperature was about right and with the door cracked, the humidity was about right too.

    I’d be happy to walk you through the process. For a recipe, I make variation of this recipe by Jason Molinari.

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