Friday, October 16, 2009
I just shot the cover for a cookbook on winter vegetables. I created a vegetable still life for the shoot and, in order to do so, bought quite a few vegetables. I always cull through all the options to find just the ones I think will photograph well and then add many for backup - just in case. The result was that after the shoot, I ended up with a refrigerator literally teaming with vegetables including onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, and winter greens including kale and cabbage. I am always determined not to waste the food I shoot and I quickly devised a list of dishes that could make best use of the hearty photography models. A series of winter soups were obvious candidates. The first creation? A kale, white bean and pasta soup seasoned with Parmesan and spicy Harissa. I have since made a beef stew (a take on this one), and today, a celery root, potato and leek soup - all so delicious and in the spirit of the season. What do I have left? Russet and fingerling potatoes, beets, more cabbage and kale. Any suggestions?
Kale, white bean and pasta soup
1 lb+ Kale, thick center stems removed, chopped roughly
1 lb dried cannellini beans (note: for faster cooking time, soak beans overnight)
1 26 oz can chopped tomatoes (I like Pomi brand)
1 large onion, diced
3 medium-sized carrots, diced
3 turnips, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus rind
1 cup small pasta
1 Tbs Harissa
2 Tbs olive oil
8 cups water (or half water, half vegetable stock)
1 small bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped roughly
Salt and pepper
Sweat carrots, onions and celery in olive oil with a healthy sprinkling of pepper until translucent. Add turnips and saute for a few minutes.
Add water, tomatoes and dried beans and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to a simmer. Add Parmesan, Parmesan rind and Harissa (note: Harissa is very spicy - if you do not enjoy spicy soup, reduce quantity or omit Harissa).
Simmer for 45 - 90 minutes until beans are just tender (timing will depend on whether you soaked the beans overnight). Add additional water, cup by cup if soup is too thick. Add pasta, kale and sprinkle liberally with salt. Add additional Harissa or pepper to taste.
Cook until pasta is barely tender (it will continue to cook once you have removed the soup from the heat). Again, add additional water if thinner soup is desired. Remove and discard parmesan rind. Add Italian parsley. Serve with some nice, rustic bread.