Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Vegetarian Soup in Disguise

I could happily live a vegetarian life. Don't get me wrong, there are times when only a big hunk of meat will do. Usually it is during barbecue season when all I could envision is my brother-in-law's beautifully spiced filet mignon, so rare it's still quivering. But, for the most part, I find myself eating vegetarian dishes; there just seems to be more variety there.

Rafa wouldn't happily live a vegetarian life - in fact, he'd view it as a malnourished one. Of course I'm not surprised, he growing up in the country of meat. For Christmas, they would have a huge side of a pig in their chicken, ready for carving for impromptu jamón tapas. It looked strange to me when first seeing it there, hanging out next to the pantry and fridge. It didn't really kick in that it was an animal until I saw its hoof. Hmmmn.

So you could see we come from very different foodie ideals. I thought a sort of compromise was needed, but of course, since I'm the cook, it always tends to lean in my favor. Muahahahaha.

120. Chickpea, Bacon and Mushroom soup - *Soup*
121. Chickpea, Bacon and Mushroom soup (soup pasta variation) - *Soup*

Number 121 was for Rafa for dinner when he got home from work, and 120 is for me for my lunch today. It is basically the same recipe with some pasta added to one of the bowls once the soup was done.

So the soup -- so easy and a pleasure to make, because I just love the idea of making a stock and healthy soup from scratch.

First, I sweated some some onions, carrots and garlic in a little bit of olive oil and salt. This was the 'base' of the stock. Smelled fabulous at this point.

The meaty part of the original recipe involved first cooking some bacon and then adding the veggies to that oil, but the compromise was no bacon, because I was eating this soup too! :) I didn't let on that there was supposed to be bacon in the soup, but instead decided to bulk it up for Rafa so he hopefully wouldn't notice there was no meat.

While the vegetables were sweating, I soaked some porcini mushrooms in warm water. After a bit, I drained and sliced them and reserved the dark liquid. (My friend, Jean, in Scotland, was kind enough to send me a huge bag of porcinis, so my porcini liquid cup runneth over. Can't wait to make some more risotto too -- Thanks, Jean!)

Once the vegetables got soft, I added tomato pureé, a can of chickpeas with its juice, the sliced mushrooms, two bay leaves,
and enough of the porcini liquid to top the vegetables. This simmered for about a half an hour. And that was the first soup done!

For the second soup, Tom said I could boil up some ditalini or macaroni. I had both so decided to include the two. It was about 50g in total for a serving of soup.

And that was Rafa's hearty dinner for when he came back home from a long day at work. He liked it and would swill around the mushrooms because he thought they were beef slices. I let him on to the secret that there was not actually any meat there -- he said what harm would there be in a couple of cubes of meat. I think that's his way of telling me he needs some meat. I'll see what I can do....


Leeanne (teacake) said...

Ilana, my husband is the same. He thinks that dinner is not a proper meal unless there's some meat in it somewhere.!!
The soup looks lovely and I am waiting for colder days here so I can try TND soups myself.
Keep up the good work

annauk said...

mmm, that looks delicious!

traceyg said...

Ilana, lovely soup, chick peas rock!!
(Really enjoy reading your blogs btw)