A Minestra: A Corsican Bean Soup

Corsican Bean Soup Recipe
Photo Credit: Greg DuPree,Food & Wine Magazine, 2019.

There is a Corsican saying, “Eat your soup—or jump out the window,” which sounds better in Corsican, “O mangia a minestra, o salta a fenestra,” as it has the advantage of rhyming. What it actually means is “Put up with it or shut up.”

It also illustrates the importance of soup in the daily diet of Corsicans up until the middle of last century. Each region and each season had its own soup made of pulses or fresh vegetables, meat or fish, often thickened with bread, rice or pasta. Served before cheese and fruit, it often constituted the evening meal.

This traditional soup is the quintessential, true Corsican meal and is called  “A Minestra,” or in French Soupe Corse or Soupe Paysanne. There are as many different variations as there are Corsican villages. It is a simple rustic dish and  is rarely served in restaurants, but it is what you will  eat when you’re invited to a Corsican’s home to share a simple meal. Most Corsicans in the  villages eat Minestra nearly daily for dinner. What goes into the soup is seasonal and varies depending on what grows locally and the home cook has on hand, but it  almost always includes dried beans, onions and carrots. A ham bone or the trimmings of a smoked ham  are added to give  flavour. Ask your local butcher or at the delicatessen counter for end pieces of ham or bacon. Herbs are also important in making this soup. You can choose from marjoram, sage, sorrel and parsley , but it is recommended not use all the herbs listed here.

This version is full of hearty winter vegetables and pork, making this  comforting soup so filling without being heavy on the stomach.When prepared as a lunch rather than a dinner, it’s made the night before and served cold the next day. Dried beans are the key to the satisfying richness of the broth; if you want to use canned red or white beans to save time, drain and rinse them and then stir them in at the end of cooking.

 

 

Serves 8

Ingredients:

8 ounces dried cannellini beans
2 tablespoons olive
1 small green cabbage, chopped
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
4 cups stemmed and chopped Swiss chard
2 medium leeks, white parts only, chopped
2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
7 cups water
7 cups chicken broth
1 bouquet garni
One 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1 ham bone
8 ounces pork cheek or boneless pork shoulder

Directions:

If you are using dry beans, place them in a bowl; add cold water to cover. Cover bowl; let soak  overnight.

The following day, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high; add cabbage, potatoes, chard, leeks, carrots, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are wilted, about 10 minutes. Add the water and chicken broth to cover vegetable mixture. Reduce heat to low, and simmer gently while preparing beans.

Meanwhile, drain beans. Transfer beans to a large pot; add water to cover by 2 inches. Add bouquet garni; bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 minutes. Drain.

Add drained beans and bouquet garni to vegetable mixture in Dutch oven. Add tomatoes, ham bone, and pork cheek. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans and vegetables are very tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove and discard bouquet garni and ham bone. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with a crusty rustic bread.

Cook’s Notes:

To make a bouquet garni, take 1 bay leaf, 2 thyme sprigs, and 3 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, tied and tie the together with kitchen twine.

This soup may be prepared up to 3 days ahead.

Source:

Clark Z. Terry. (2012).”Minestra – Traditional Corsican Soup”. Inspiring Thirst. Accessed September 24, 2019.
https://www.kermitlynch.com/blog/2012/02/09/minestra-traditional-corsican-soup/

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Pork Chops with Three Apple Slaw

Pork Chop with Three Apple Sauce

Photo Cred: Victor Protasio, Food&Wine Magazine, 2019.

Recipe by
JUSTIN CHAPPLE
Food & Wine Magazine
September 2019

For his zippy version of coleslaw, F&W’s Justin Chapple swaps the cabbage for a mix of sweet and tart apples—Gala, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith—and then tosses them with a creamy, Tabasco-laced dressing.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
Four  10-ounce bone-in rib-cut pork chops,1 inch thick
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 Honeycrisp apple
1 Gala apple
1 Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
4 inner celery stalks, thinly diagonally sliced, plus 1/4 cup celery leaves
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup snipped fresh chives

Directions:
Season pork chops with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add pork chops to skillet; cook, turning occasionally, until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of chop registers 135°F, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Set aside.

Cut each apple lengthwise into quarters, and discard cores. Thinly slice apple quarters lengthwise; stack slices, and cut lengthwise again into thin sticks.

Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, poppy seeds, and hot sauce in a large bowl; season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add apple sticks, celery, celery leaves, parsley, and chives; toss to combine. Serve immediately with pork chops.


Hello, June 2019!

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Did you know that June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month and the beginning of the Summer Season provides an abundance of colorful produce to choose from.

Remember the importance of fruits and vegetables to a well-balanced, nutrient dense diet. Fruits and vegetables are nature’s fast food that provide many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber for overall good health.

The goal is at least 5-a-day for better health and remember to have a rainbow of delicious colors daily.

As far as the nutrition value of fruits and vegetables. If fresh is not an option at that time, frozen is the next best choice. The 3rd best option is canned fruits and vegetables. Really, it is better to have them any way you can.  Dietitians and nutritionists would like to  see you eating fruits and vegetables. Period. But don’t forget, if you are purchasing canned vegetables, try to get the “no salt added” variety for better health.

So, what fruits and vegetables are in season in June? Among other things, apricots. June stands for sweet apricots. Rich in carotene, apricots promote a natural, safe and quick suntan. If you buy unripe and sour apricots, dice them and season them with salt, extra virgin olive oil and minced fresh mint. A fresh and unusual summer salad you can serve as a starter.

In addition to apricots, here is a list of fruits and vegetables to enjoy during the month of June.

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for June

Apricots
Arugula
Asparagus
Beets
Black cherries
Blueberries
Broad beans
Cabbage
Carrots
Celery
Chard
Cherries
Chicory
Cilantro
Corn
Courgettes
Courgette flowers
Cucumbers
Currants
Dandelion greens
Early potatoes
Garlic
Green beans
Gooseberries
Kale
Kiwi
Lettuce
Loquats
Melons
Mulberries
Nectarines
Onions
Peaches
Peas
Plums
Radishes
Raspberries
Rhubarb
Strawberries
Sweet bell peppers
Tomatoes
Watermelons
Yellow squash