RECIPE: Minestrone Soup with Roast Pork Loin and Root Vegetables

by - October 26, 2009

The nights are getting chilly and this is exactly the sort of thing I'm craving to warm me up. I roast a lean, smoked pork loin in the oven with sage the day before so it can be cubed and added to the soup, releasing its smoky flavour and saltiness. Sometimes I like to add some cooked borlotti beans halfway between the root vegetables and pork stages.

Makes a good 6 portions.

Small smoked pork loin, roasted in the oven with sage, cooled and cubed
2tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 sticks of celery, chopped
Chilli flakes or a 2cm piece of fresh chilli, chopped with seeds
Large swede, peeled and diced
2-3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
Large butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 parsnips, peeled and diced
5 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ripe tomatoes, skin removed
2 tablespoons of tomato puree concentrate
Chicken stock or stock made up using a good quality bullion
A few stalks of parsley or oregano, finely chopped
Small handful of either spinach, greens or cabbage, shredded
Salt and pepper

Dice all of the root veg.

In a big, heavy bottomed saucepan, gently fry the onion, celery and chilli in olive oil, making sure it doesn't brown, for about 10 minutes. Add all of the diced root vegetables and sautee for a few minutes.

Pour in enough stock to just cover the vegetables. If it is a strong stock, use part stock, part water. Add the puree, chopped tomato and chopped herbs.

Bring to the boil then reduce to a gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every now and again.

Add the cubed pork and shredded greens and simmer for a further 10 minutes, until the root vegetables are tender .

Season to taste and serve with grated parmesan and hunks of good bread.

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