Minestrone soup is a big favourite in our house, and the base recipe comes from the old "Woman's Weekly" Italian cookbook. Saute lots of chopped veg. Simmer in chicken stock with a can of diced tomatoes, etc, etc. of course I add stuff - paprika, chicken and/or bacon, canned beans and corn.
Now that I understand this kind of cooking, and why it emerged from cultures with access to fewer of our modern ingredients, so to speak, I'll have to find out why I didnt get to eat it growing up. Perhaps its partly a cultural issue, but home-made soups are so simple and economical... they just take a lot of simmering, and perhaps that was the issue in my family of origin. come to think of it - two parents working and 5 kids going in different directions.... no one had the time to sit around and make soup.
flavour takes time, no question about it. cultures that were less busy than ours let things simmer for an afternoon or a day... then we invented the "pressure cooker" to speed up the process.... and then the "crock pot" to make it slow and electro.
so I'm mixing minestrone and mexican tastes. tonight's meal started with a mexican red-chile beef soup recipe from the fantastic mexican kitchen by rick bayless. it was a beef recipe but I started with a bacon hock.I've made a couple of mexistrone soups recently.
slice an onion thickly and blacken on a hot, heavy based frypan. do the same with 2-3 cloves of garlic. [smoked onion, garlic, tomato, tomatillos, capsicum and chillies are the main basis for great mexican taste.]
simmer a bacon hock, a couple of litres of water, black peppercorns, 2 chopped carrots, 1 tsp sea salt, the onion and garlic, 3 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp freshly ground cloves, 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. give it a couple of hours, add water as needed.
the chilli bit was meant to be 2 ancho chillies and 3 guajillo chillies, but I used one of each (it ended up a bit mild). i found them at chile mojo on norwood parade, but you can buy them from aztec imports. I HAVE TO SAY THAT THESE ARE AMAZING. GO AND ORDER SOME!.
you cut the dried chillies in half, remove the stalk and seeds, and then dry fry them on high heat on both sides until they start smoking. press them down with a metal spatula. then rehydrate in hot water for 30 mins. (take them outside, the steam will kill your eyes... all through the house...) then drain them and food-process with a 400g can of tomatoes.
I changed the recipe by adding two fried and chopped chorizo sausages and 4 cooked and chopped chicken thighs. I added 2 x 400 g cans kidney beans (recipe said green beans), 1 x 400g can corn kernels, 1 coarsely chopped red capsicum, 1/2 red cabbage chopped, 1 extra 400 g can diced tomatoes.
Add to the soup a handful of chopped coriander (cilantro) and juice of 1-2 limes.
i write this so I don't forget what I did. we're about to eat it. damn its good.
I'll have to cook mexican at the next nosh. i think that i can say that i'm the best (only) mexican cook I know.....