Packed with delicious vegetables, this healthy and hearty soup will make you feel like you just ate at an Italian Nona's h...
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Fried the pancetta really crispy and pushed the mirepoix to just a touch brown on edges of some pieces. Also used a very large piece of parmesan rind. Think this made this version's broth more flavorful than previous minestrone recipes I've used. Love it!
Indeed bay leaves, even just one, adds flavor to a dish. The more you use, the stronger the flavor. If at all possible try, using fresh bay leaves, they are wonderful! I often add 2 or 3 to the dishes I am cooking but I really like the flavor they add.
Here is a quote regarding bay leaves that I found really great - "As far as I can tell, it's like having a harp in an orchestra. You can't really hear the harp while they're playing, but if you take it out you could swear something's missing."
You do bring up a good point C.j.G.
Many herbs or ingredients on thier own may not seem to bring a ton of flavor to sauces, stew, stocks etc. and bay leaves definitely falls into that category.
To really learn about the impact of an ingredient like bay leaves, you may want to try using them to the extremes. Try a familiar dish that uses bay leaves but omit them (it might be more helpful to try a dish that you already know the flavo). Then make the dish again, but use about fives times the amount the next time. Once, you identify the single taste it brings to each dish, you will have a better appreciation for how an ingredient adds flavor.
Or to make it more simply try adding 3 or 4 bay leaves to your potatoes then next time you boil or steam them. The smell and flavor they add is wonderful. Cheers!
Made some steamed potatoes( I always steam) added 5 bay leaves and that made the whole house smell really good and the potatoes were fantastic. When ever I steam from now on I will use bay leaves,now I will have to plant a bay tree. Thanks for the info.
Cooking is about learning to use ALL of your senses. Digital thermometers are really only useful for certain tasks such as testing the internal temperature of larger cuts of meat, the temperature of a particular cooking liquid/oil or when doing sugar work and certain types of pastry-related tasks where exact temperatures need to be targeted for optimum results.
It is not feasible to test the temperature of small or bite-sized ingredients. Terms such as "soften" or "al-dente" refer to texture (not temperature), so you need to taste and use other senses (sight/smell/sound/touch, etc) when cooking and testing these types of ingredients. Awareness is key. New cooks must form the habit of tasting the food they cook at every point (wherever applicable). This is the only way they are going to learn texture, flavoring, seasoning and when things are "done". By practicing over and over again, you will learn to trust your senses and instincts.
Just a note regarding the discussion threads. If your question is more general, please start a new thread in the forum. It is helpful for other students if all questions attached to each lesson or recipe are directly related to the subject at hand. Thanks and cheers!
While we have not frozen this soup ourselves, I'm sure it would be fine. Will it be the same as when it's first made? Not likely, but it should still be good. I say test it out to see if you are happy with the end results.
As for mentioning in each recipe whether or not they are good for freezing, this is generally not something we do as it's not always a simple answer of "yes (or no) this dish can be frozen". There are just so many variables, e.g., does the dish contain cream, potatoes, or ingredients that will be negatively affected by excess moisture due to being frozen?
Here is an article called "Foods That Freeze Well" that you mind find helpful. Cheers!
I noticed you suggest soaking the beans prior to use. As one who cooks mostly organic I have found that after inspecting the beans for rocks and bad beans it is necessary to wash the beans.
The first time I washed the organic beans it took three washings in cool water before I had clear water. After this experience it has made me realize the resulting meal would be far more pleasing to the palate than one which included dirt.
I wash the beans in a container that contains both the beans and an inch of water above the beans. I run my fingers through the beans in the water. Pour off the water and repeat as many times as necessary to allow a clear water pour from the beans.
Once washed I then proceed with the overnight soak.
Sometimes with dietary restrictions, there are no substitutions so you can simply omit the pancetta. There is no real substitute for the saltiness/flavor that these types of pork products provide. Perhaps you can experiment with turkey bacon or other vegetarian products that simulate pork products. Minestrone can also be made completely vegetarian to suit the required dietary needs/tastes. It is helpful if you bookmark this link that offers plenty of suggested food substitutions.
In regards to cooking dried legumes, there is an entire lesson in the Cooking School on this subject. In fact, this minestrone soup recipe is one of the supporting practice recipes for that lesson. Cheers!
Prepared the minestrone using this recipe as part of my first course (The Cook's Roadmap - knife skills) at Rouxbe. Wow what an uplifting experience! Leftover soup the next day was even better!
I must admit after I did all my knife practice on all the veggies and ingredients in this recipe my wrist was cramping a little...but it was a "good" pain. :).
Hi Gregory- Thank you for your enthusiasm and support for what we do at Rouxbe. We love the feedback and the engagement. If you'd like to post Questions for Discussion in the Cook's Roadmap Course, you can do that directly from the task page in that course.
That way, all students in the course can chime in, add comments, and respond to questions.
That page is here: "Task 23".
Keep up the great work!
I made this soup with sundried tomatoes in place of the pancetta. I eat vegitarian, so it was a very easy sub, and added a sweet but mature flavor. Hard to describe, but very pleasing. My only issue with this soup is that I hate beans, and you can imagine how those go over... ;)
Texture.. Oh dear god the texture!
I have always had issues with mushy, or pasty things, and beans are right there from firm beans to well cooked - they are mush. I love potatoes for example, but gag on mashed potatoes. Boiled potatoes? Just fine. It is once it turns mushy, I am a wuss.
I tended to swallow the beans whole, or make sure I got other veggies on my spoon at the same time. I am a big boy and I can eat things I know are good for me, I just have to trick my body.
I have some french lentils in the pantry. Have not decided on the use yet. Soups are a cop out for making myself get used to flavors and textures, but they work! I can hide so much.
I was thinking to make roasted onions carrots and turnips (of the "swede" variety), then throw the lentils into a veg stock, and add the hot roasted veggies and simmer for a few minutes once the lentils are done. Should give it a sweet and nummy flavor. Any other pairings you can recommend?
Hi Jerry- Too bad to hear about the texture aversion, but I get it. It's visceral. You might like to try corona beans. They are very large and meaty feeling, with plenty of chew.
That soup sounds great and you can take the flavor profile in any direction. I think this would taste great with just some fresh herbs, plenty of seasoning, and finished with a drop of good olive oil. You can also go to Mexico with this dish and add a bit of cumin, ground red chilies and lime juice to finish.