Sunday, September 22, 2013

Soup’s On!

According to my calendar, today officially marks the start of fall, and if this weekend’s grey and rainy conditions are any indication, it would appear that it has arrived promptly on schedule.    

Coaxed indoors, I have picked up the challenge launched with last week’s blog and seized the opportunity to expand my chard repertoire and to keep up with my garden’s burgeoning crop. This rapid reprieve from summer’s incessant heat has once again opened the door to all the welcoming possibilities of soup. 

One of my favorite go-to sites for such cooking ideas is   I tend to relate to their food style and I can usually find reliable ideas such as Michael Romano’s Secret-Ingredient Soup.  My imagination was instantly sparked by his chard soup incorporating a good chicken stock, onion, leeks, and carrots, Italian sausage ― and his mystery ingredient, cornmeal.

Armed with this great starting place, I’ve taken Michael’s basic premise and made a few adjustments of my own.  For a little heartier soup, I substituted a link of Spanish linguica, included white beans and added a bit of fresh sage and rosemary from the garden.

Thank you, Michael, for this lovely taste of fall in a bowl. 

Hearty Chard, Bean and Linguica Soup
Inspired by Michael Romano's Secret-Ingredient Soup at  From his book, Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner, © 2013 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
3/4 cup well-washed thinly sliced leeks
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces Spanish linguica sausage, cut up
2 tablespoons medium-grind cornmeal (polenta)
5 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 ½ cups cooked white beans, such as cannellini or mayo coba
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
1 teaspoon minced sage
4 cups packed stemmed and coarsely chopped kale or chard leaves, or a combination
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

1.       Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, leeks, garlic, salt, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, fennel and oregano and cook, stirring, until the onion becomes translucent, 8 to 10 minutes, and remove from pot.
2.       Cook the sausage to lightly brown, about 5 minutes; remove and drain.
3.      Drain off the excess fat in pot and return vegetables to the pan.   Stir in the cornmeal. Add the stock, stirring, and bring to a boil.  Add the cooked beans, rosemary, and sage; reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.       Stir in the greens and cook for 15 minutes more, or until tender.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with grated Parmigiano.  Serves 4 to 6. 



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