Minestrone Soup

One of the many things I realised when I changed careers and went from being a corporate worker to studying the culinary arts was that with the commercialisation of food products for convenience a lot of us don’t know the origins of a lot of what we eat.

This soup is a case in point. My whole life I had always known minestrone soup to be something that comes from a soup packet and my mom would use to thicken her gravy! Even though the packet would clearly say “minestrone soup” my mind didn’t quite realise it was meant to be a liquid and not a powder. 

This isn’t my favourite in terms of flavour. It reminds me of my dad’s bone and veg soup from my youth but this is a timeless classic as well. Italian in origin, like British soups it makes use of both meat and vegetables in a dairy free soup. Be careful not to overcook the vegetables. They should still have a bit of bite to them. The key to a beautiful looking minestrone soup is identically chopped and same-sized vegetables. Pre-cook some pasta shells and add them at the end. Some people prefer it without the pasta. 

Ingredients

  • Bacon, cut into small cubes – 60g
  • Olive oil – 60ml
  • Onions, chopped – 450g
  • Celery, chopped – 220g
  • Carrots, chopped – 220g
  • Green peppers, chopped – 220g
  • Red cabbage, chopped – 220g
  • Garlic, fine minced – 15g
  • Tomato, fine chopped – 450g
  • Chicken stock (Liquid, not stock cubes) – 450g
  • Canned Chickpeas  – 120g
  • Canned Cannelini beans (replace with butter beans if you can’t find them) – 200g
  • Salt
  • White pepper

Method

  1. Pour the olive oil into a pot and brown the bacon. Remove the bacon and set it aside.
  2. In the same pot add vegetables along with the garlic, heat to medium and keep stirring with a wooden spoon until the onions and celery are translucent.
  3. Add the tomatoes and stock, simmer until tender. Making sure not to overcook them.
  4. Strain the chickpeas and cannellini beans and add to the pot, simmer the soup until all the ingredients are tender.
  5. Add the bacon and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve immediately or cool down immediately in a bath of ice water. (this is to prevent overcooking the vegetables)
  7. You can add your pasta towards the end just before serving

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