Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Humble Soup

After a stinking miserable patch of ultra-humid weather the last couple of weeks, the weather broke over the weekend and the weekend was one of the more glorious spans of great weather that I have seen. The brisk wind out of the northwest meant retrieving the pullovers from the closet for the first time since May. And naturally, it got us firmly focused on fall food, not that we weren't leaning that way already.

On Monday, I got a couple of emails from Ann, one suggesting Tuscan bean soup for dinner and another suggesting a bottle of nice red to go with it (like I am going to forget that!). I wasn't really feeling all that prep for dinner, being still really tired from last week. But I found myself with a couple of spans of 15 minutes during the day on Monday when I had finished my paperwork and was waiting on appointments. So I went into the restaurant kitchen and knocked out the prep work for dinner.

When I got home, all I had to do was heat some olive oil in a big soup pot, throw in some of the pancetta that I cure, try that out for a couple minutes, then toss in the mirepoix and garlic, all of which I prepped earlier in the day when I had more motivation. Out in the garden I grabbed a sprig of rosemary, a bunch of parsley, and two bunches of sage and into the pot they went along with two bay leaves. Half a bottle of leftover white wine went in next along with a #10 can of cannellini, a couple pinches of fennel seeds, two big handfuls (anyone wanna debate handsful v. handfuls?) of dried porcini, and water to cover. While I like to soak dry beans overnight, I didn't have that option and there's nothing wrong with canned beans for soup.

Red Mountain: I'm Loving This AVA
The soup simmered on very low heat for a couple of hours while we sat out on the patio enjoying the glorious weather and a very nice bottle of red, a 2008 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain blend primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with some Syrah along with Franc and Malbec. The firm tannins and the subtle acidity work very well in concert with the fruit and the oak. This is a great buy for $20 retail. I bought it simply because it is from the Red Mountain AVA and I am loving the wines that come from this tiny Washington appellation. Another score for Washington State!

Crusty Bread, Always Keep Some in the Freezer!

Bean Soup: Not the Most Beautiful Dish, but Awesome Flavor!

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