Thursday, December 15, 2005

no soup for you!

Well, hold on, wait - I can't. Withholding soup from you without you doing something to justify such soup withholding would truly be a cruel act of soupy proportions. And since it's against the corporate values of felix's daily starfish and waffles to be cruel - what can I say, I'm a lover, not a hater - just forget the whole title of this post. Except the part about the soup.

Trust in, and eat, Felix's delightfully-fattening Pancetta & Potato Minestrone and, verily, thou shalt have died and gone to heaven. Amen!

A great chef must have a great signature soup. Now don't argue with me: I believe this is one of the laws of thermodynamics. Unfortunately, this great chef (haha) has been without a great signature soup for years and enough is enough - it's due time to put an end to this shameful circumstance. So, for the past few weeks, I've been secretly toiling day and night in my kitchen, experimenting with the finest ingredients from the four corners of the world and the latest, cutting-edge culinary techniques, all in an effort to come up with a soup recipe that will overwhelm the likes of humankind.

Why go to all the trouble, you ask?

Because this is my Everest, damnit!! It is my destiny! Don't question me or else there will be no soup for you!

As you can see, I am very passionate about soup. Anyway, before I have an aneurysm, I'm going to share with you the recipe of my Pancetta & Potato Minestrone - the first signature soup of the dingobear kitchen.

Felix's Pancetta & Potato Minestrone
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
800mL can of whole tomatoes
400mL sodium-reduced chicken broth
100-150 grams of pancetta (Italian bacon), cubed into bite-sized pieces
2 small or medium Russet potatoes, cubed into small pieces with the skin left on
2 fresh Roma tomatoes, diced
10 baby carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/4 cup of parsley, coarsely chopped
4-5 fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When warm, throw in the chopped onions and lightly stir fry with a wooden spoon until they start to turn just slightly translucent. Once this happens, toss in the pancetta. Stir fry amongst the olive oil and onions for a few more minutes until the edges of the pancetta start to brown. That's your cue to add the potatoes. What you want to do is get a good start on cooking the potatoes and coating them with all of the good stuff that's already in your pot. So, like before, using your wooden spoon, stir fry your ingredients for, I dunno, say another 5 or 6 more minutes.

By now, some brown bits are going to start sticking to the bottom of your pot, so you'll want to deglaze a little to release all of those great bits of flavor. You do this by emptying your can of whole tomatoes. The liquid and acidity of the tomatoes will allow you to use your wooden spoon to easily scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of your pot. Next, break up the whole, canned tomatoes into smaller pieces with your wooden spoon. (This is an important step because you're not going to want to bite into a whole tomato when you're eating your soup - you'll burn yourself). Give all of the ingredients in your pot a good stir.

Next, add the carrots, fresh Roma tomatoes, and celery, and stir those around a bit. Follow with your sodium-reduced chicken broth and, finally, your parsley and sage leaves. Reduce heat, cover your pot and allow the soup to simmer and thicken for 45 to 60 minutes. Remember to stir at least occasionally.

As the minestrone simmers, the wonderful smells of the ingredients will permeate your entire house. (If this doesn't happen, you've made it wrong! And I absolve myself from all blame). After the soup is done simmering, what you'll get is four servings of a hearty, chunky soup which is distinguishable by the salty smokiness of the pancetta and the satisfying flavor of the various vegetables and herbs.

Felix's Pancetta & Potato Minestrone is comfort food from the dingobear kitchen. Make lots and enjoy!

If you're the ambitious sort, you may also want to try the dingobear classic pizza. It's very good for stuffing your face with.

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