Roasted Tomato and White Bean Soup with Tasso Ham

Here’s a super-nourishing and frugal dish that doesn’t skimp on flavor.

Roasted San Marzano tomatoes, yellow onions, garlic and peppers with spicy Tasso ham, celery, fresh herbs and raw olive oil..


Roasted Tomato and White Bean Soup with Tasso Ham

(click image to enlarge)

Serves 2-3 as a main dish

A specialty of Cajun cuisine, tasso ham is a spicy, peppery smoked pork butt

1 28 oz can organic San Marzano tomatoes, drained (juice reserved) OR equiv. fresh plum tomatoes
1 can organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, OR equiv. soaked and cooked dry white beans
8 oz tasso ham, cut into cubes
1/2 large yellow onion
1 head garlic
1/2 red bell pepper
1 large Italian grilling pepper
1/3 cup celery, diced
1 bay leaf
1 6-inch sprig rosemary
3-4 basil leaves
1 small bunch thyme
2 blades mace
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon hulled cardamom
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon pastured butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper more-or-less
3/4 teaspoon sea salt more-or-less

Lay the tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast in a 500 degree oven until browned/blistered.  Set aside to cool.

Sauté celery, tasso and whole spices with butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until celery is soft and spices are fragrant, about 7 minutes.

Working in batches if necessary, squeeze garlic from their skins and pulse roasted vegetables in a food processor until slightly chunky.  Transfer to Dutch oven with celery and ham.

Stir in cooked beans, ground spices and minced fresh herbs.  Adjust consistency with reserved tomato juice and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and dress with a tablespoon of good olive oil.  Accompany with slices of toasted alternative-grain bread if that’s to your liking.

This post is both part of the Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet and
the October Fest Carnival of Super Foods at Kitchen Stewardship!

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Show Me The Whey pt. 2

In an earlier post, I took at look a using yoghurt as a source of liquid whey, which in turn can be used to make all sorts of great stuff like lacto-fermented ketchup or raisin chutney.  I also touched on some of the ways to use the solids that are left after the whey is removed.

In Show Me The Whey part 2, I take a closer look at some of the ways to use those solids, including a fresh cream cheese replacement and the traditional Middle-eastern labneh and oil-preserved, spice-coated dried labneh balls, all of which may be made at a cost of less than $5.

Once separated from its liquid whey, the solid labneh is ready for use as a replacement for cream cheese, including everything from a sweet or savory spread to crab & cream cheese wontons to cheesecake.  In this form, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to about a week, a little longer if salted.

Here, I’ve spread labneh on some thin pumpernickel (made from whole-grain sprouted rye) and topped with lingonberries & rosemary, fresh chives & black sea salt flakes and homemade orange-ginger jam with red pepper.  It would work just as nicely on a sprouted bagel with smoked salmon..


Labneh on Pumpernickel with Assorted Toppings

Another good use for labneh is as labneh balls, which are made by rolling the labneh into balls, removing the remaining water by air-drying on absorbent paper for a day or so, rolling in spices such as dried mint or za’atar (sumac, thyme, sesame seeds and salt) and then preserving in olive oil.  Made this way, the labneh will last indefinitely on the counter (no refrigeration needed), or at least until it gets eaten..

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday

Frugal Friday

Roasted chicken with vermicelli and fresh vegetables & herbs..

Leeks, celery, carrots, garlic, sage, thyme, rosemary, some dried tomatoes that I put up at the end of the summer, tumeric, roasted red pepper, freshly ground caraway and brown mustard seed, S&P, vermicelli,  stock/broth and chicken pieces (I’m using inexpensive thighs).

Season the chicken well with S&P and half sharp paprika and brown in a Dutch oven with a little olive oil.  Transfer chicken pieces to another skillet and finish in a 400 degree oven (about 15 minutes).

Meanwhile, sauté the vermicelli, mustard/caraway and vegetables in the same Dutch oven until the vegetables soften and the pasta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, herbs, red peppers, turmeric and just enough stock or broth to cover the vegetables.  Cook until the vermicelli is just done, about 8 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, make a nest of pasta on the plate and dress with raw sprouts and microgreens. Place the chicken on top of the pasta and drizzle with a little of the stock and drippings from the chicken pan. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley.

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