Thursday, 2 May 2013

Frugal Fancy Food - Minestrone

I love food.
I love cooking.
I don't let the fact that I live alone discourage me from cooking. I only wish I had a dishwasher in my flat. When the fella comes over for food, he is the dishwasher. He is better at washing dishes than I.
Cooking is one of my things. Dishwashing is not.

I enjoy the challenge of making run of the mill, economical food into something amazing and healthy and yummy. And filling.

I have been wanting to action a soup since the weather went cooler, but I wanted something very, very tasty.

I am proud to say that this minestrone is pretty freaking awesome. Instead of bacon (too salty and a bit bland) or pork hock (a bit more expensive and hard to get my mitts on), I used italian pork sausages, which were lurking in my freezer.

My recipe:

  • 4 good quality pork sausages, casings removed. I used the spicy sausages and they made the soup hum nicely.
  • 1 440g tin borlotti beans (you can use cannellini if you prefer)
  • 1/2 litre of beef stock (that was all I had hanging around and it made the soup lovely and rich)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic/2tsp crushed garlic.
  • Diced Vegetables - 1 zucchini, 2 stalks celery, 1-2 carrots, Parsnip. I got my mitts on some freshly chopped vegetables at my greengrocer - they were discounted as they had been sitting around a bit - $2.50 as opposed to $6. WIN.
  • 2 potatoes, unpeeled, diced. You could substitute some pasta here but put it in in the end so it doesn't go mushy.
  • Some leafy greens - very nutritious but very tastless on their own. You could use silverbeet or chard. I used a bag of baby spinach that I had in the bottom of my fridge that was on its way out.
  • Oregano, 1-2 teaspoons
  • Fennel seeds- 1 teaspoon - goes well with the pork.
  • Water, added to correct consistency and make "soupy" rather than "saucy".
  • Salt (I had some mushroom flavoured salt hanging about so I added that, It made the flavour even deeper)
  • Sugar - 2-3 teaspoons - adds well to the spiciness of the sausages, and brings out the sweetness of the tomato.
In a heavy based pot, fry the onions and garlic in a generous glug of olive oil till glossy. Add the sausage innards and fry till browned.
Add some more olive oil and then add the rest of the veggies apart from the spinach. Pop the lid on and let them sweat for a little while.
Add the beans, tomatoes and stock, plus some water. Add the greens and herbs and salt and sugar. Bring to boil, let reduce a little, simmer for about 1/2 hour. Ensure veggies are tender. 
Serve with some parmesan cheese and some bread. But really this is so filling that you don't actually need the bread. Any excuse for sourdough, though, right?

This makes about 5-6 generous serves. It is gosh-darned tasty, if I don't say so myself. It is so nutritious I am glowing like I have just been for a run or done some mattress aerobics. I have popped some in the freezer to enjoy later.

It works out to about 2-3 bucks a serve, depending on how cheaply you can source the sausages. But given that these are the hero in this dish, if you can, go for quality.

Here is some minestrone porn:

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