Sunday, January 13, 2013

Peasant Bacon Potato Soup to Cure the Flu


Peasant Bacon Potato Soup or Zuppa di patate pancetta Contadina as the Italians would say.

Cold and flu season has hit our home...

Sadly, it struck hardest on my lovely wife.  That's her, looking better than she did all weekend.  She was miserable.

So, let's make soup!  Worked better than the meds she got from the doctor.

This is mostly a potato vegetable soup.  I am lucky enough to have a cousin-in-law that smokes and cures his own pork belly bacon that I used as Italian Pancetta.  The soup had a delicious bacon taste that separates this from a basic veggie soup.

Everything is better with bacon... Even the flu.

I made it in the crock pot.  There is a precaution you should take when you make a potato soup in a crock pot.  Potatoes will cook through just fine when you make this soup on high for 3-4 hours.  Which is great when you are making a vegetable stew like this.  BUT, the longer you cook them, even at the LOW setting, the more they mush up.  Perfect if you are going to blend the soup into a creamy potato soup.  So only make this in a crock pot if you plan to eat in 4 hours (or are able to take it off the heat after that time).


OK, building off of what I have blogged about in the past, the broth is very important in this soup (and to cure the flu).  Sure does make it handy to always make a batch of chicken stock anytime I have a rotisserie chicken laying about.  Of course you can use store bought broth, but fresh made chicken with vegetables stock is of course best.

But also, I use two different versions of an Italian Soffritto.  Follow the link to see the details, but real quick - Onions, Carrots, Celery and Parsley sauteed over low medium heat.  A base for many Italian dishes, including this one.  My first Soffritto that I made for this dish was a fine mince version, very small pieces.  This way, the vegetables melt into the soup, adding great flavor to the broth, as well as helping to thicken the soup a bit.  I also made a larger size Soffritto that I used to make stew size pieces of vegetables.  these also flavored the stock of course but added texture and color to the soup.

And finally, just before serving I pulled out 1/2 a cup of cooked potatoes and blended them into a thick paste, then remixed this paste into the soup.  Helped to thicken the broth.

So, three things to know... Crock pot on HIGH and two different sized Soffritto and thicken the soup with a bit of the cooked potatoes.

 OK... Here's what I did...


Peasant Bacon
Potato Soup

Zuppa di patate pancetta Contadina


Ingredients
  • 5 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 TBS Olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup Soffritto (Finely Chopped Onion, Celery, Carrot and Parsley)
  • 6 Slices Pancetta (can substitute thick sliced bacon), small dice
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Chopped, but Large pieces
  • 3 Medium Carrots, peeled and sliced, large pieces
  • 2 Medium Stalk Celery, Sliced into large pieces
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Mashed and minced
  • 3 Cups Russet Potatoes, cut into 1 inch diced pieces
  • 3 large basil leaves, minced
  • 6 Slices Pancetta for garnish (can substitute thick sliced bacon)
  • Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Set your crock pot to the HIGH setting, add the Chicken Stock.
  2. While that is warming, in a large saute pan, over medium heat, add the small diced Soffritto and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens. Add this to the crock pot stock.
  3. In the same now empty saute pan, cook 6 slices of diced Pancetta (or thick sliced bacon) until just starting to turn color. You will finish cooking in the crock pot, so do not over cook this.
  4. Same saute pan, add another 2 TBS of oil, the Onion, Carrots and celery to the bacon and saute them for 5 minutes, until the onions start to soften.
  5. Add the garlic and saute for one minute.
  6. Add all this to the Crock Pot, Add the diced potatoes and basil. Add a few turns of the Pepper grinder, Close lid and cook with lid on, on HIGH for 4 hours.
  7. Just before serving, remove 1/2 a cup of the cooked potatoes and run through a blender for a few seconds to make a thickening paste. Add this back to the crock pot and stir to combine.
  8. Taste the broth, add Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Fry up a few slices of Pancetta (thick sliced bacon) and cut for garnish. Add Parmesan Cheese as a garnish if you like.
  10. Serve HOT and Enjoy

The Soup worked GREAT!

Made her think of warm comforting times (like this shot of my beautiful bride, lounging in the Virgin Islands, Tanned, rested and ready)!

Actually, the soup had a full rich BACON flavor (remember, even the flu is better with bacon).  The vegetables were just right, still had a bit of a bite to them, but also had been soaking all the flavors in the soup.

The potatoes still held their shape and had some texture, but were cooked through and the broth, while rich and full of flavor also had thickened thanks to that last step.

Like I said, GREAT SOUP, good for what ails ya'!
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So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder" (Now more than 52 and still growing)

Soup from Scratch is one of the great kitchen joys.  The house smells amazing and the soup warms to the bone.  From broth to chowder, vegetarian to loaded up chili... Even a great idea for a party (love the Potato Soup Bar idea).  Come take a look, sure to have something you might like to try.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!

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So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

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2 comments:

  1. That soup would make anybody feel better. Jackie, I am thinking of you and hoping you feel better soon. Hope my Dave takes care of me as well if I get sick. Cudos Dave.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Poor Jackie. I hope she's feeling better soon. Your soup looks delicious and I'm sure it has made her flu more tolerable.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete

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