As the temperature starts to drop gradually and the evenings are longer I am starting to want to be in the kitchen more and more, however, I am also missing all the pots, pans and tools I am so use to reaching for without a moments thought. We were at the supermarket the other day and I spotted some young cavolo nero which got me thinking of Tuscan soup, which then made me wander over to the meat section and pick out a good piece of speck. I may not have my food processors or mixers with me but I do whip up a pretty good Tuscan bean soup.
I’m not sure if the locals would agree, so when I was asked the other day what I was making I stuck with ‘Oh just a bean and vegetable soup’- what a wimp I am! For a split second I wanted to say Tuscan bean soup but then what if they tasted it and said “This isn’t Tuscan!?” That to me would be a big ego punch and I am not quite ready for that right now, therefor, I am calling it my bean and veggie soup that just happens to taste, so, so yummy and maybe, just maybe even a little bit Tuscan?
I love the way the speck looks raw, not sure why, maybe it is the thought of those yummy sweet meat smells combined with onion and olive oil on a low heat that sends me salivating?
Whatever it is, I am a big fan. Ok, so once I have all my veggies chopped into small cubes (I mean you need to put a little bit of effort in here because you will see the end result when eating) and my beans all cooked off I then check out how the speck and onions are going before I add all the veggies and garlic.
When you’re building flavours the best thing to do is layer your cooking so you lock in every flavour to compliment all the others, there is no point throwing it all together and then waiting for something amazing to happen- it wont!
Because the onions and speck have been simmering slowly in the olive oil, the oil tastes delicious and is ready to attach itself to all the new veggies I am adding and creating a really flavoursome soup.
On a quick side note: I soak my cannellini beans the night before in cold water, throw out the water and then bring them to a boil with new cold water the following day and without salt because I read somewhere that salt makes the beans tough.
Right, now that all the veggies are in and starting to warm I add thinly sliced garlic, a couple pieces of parmesan rind, salt and pepper. The kitchen smells fabulous and hunger pangs kick in so then add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once it has come to the boil, simmer for about 5 minutes and then throw in the pre cooked beans, small diced potatoes and simmer again for another 5 minutes to cook the potatoes.
It was around this time when I decided I needed a bigger pot.
When everything is finished I like to leave the soup for a day so the flavours can meld together. When serving I add a few chilli flakes and a good grate of parmesan cheese for extreme yumminess and as you can see, you really do have mountains of delicious and healthy soup everyone will love.
So is Tuscan bean soup something they really do eat in Tuscany? I ask because some Singaporean friends of ours discovered “Singapore Noodles” a few years back on a trip to Australia and said they’d never had anything like it before. 🙂
But whatever you call it, it does look good. In fact, so good I went to the cupboard to see if it was cannellini beans I had in there and no, it’s butter beans, which have been sitting around for ages because I bought them on impulse and now I don’t really know what to do with them. I could substitute, but that hasn’t been working well for me lately…
Yes they do eat Tuscan soup, I was also told if I put day old bread and reboil it, it is call ribollita soup. Butter beans will work totally fine, just put them in a couple minutes before you take it off the heat so they don’t fall apart. I’m also glad to hear Singapore noodles don’t translate to a real dish as I don’t like them!
No, I don’t like them either, and neither did our friends! I wonder who does?
Ok, thanks, butter beans… now I just have to collect the other ingredients together. I can’t tell you how much it has started bothering me to have those things sit there lately. I don’t like having a pantry stuffed full of food not being used! So thanks!
Happy to help!
That looks and sounds so good. On another note we have spent a lot of time in Singapore and sorry to say they do make great Singapore noodles! You must use the dehydrated noodles, cook up the layers of flavor. Head down and chopsticks up! Yum
Yeah but not the ones with curry powder? I LOVE noodles just not the ones in Aust. That they call Singapore noodles
That looks fantastic, I only wish we had some cooler weather so I could feel inspired to make it!!
Yeah no so comforting when it’s 35 degree inside!
We’ve had winter again here with gale force winds and torrential rain so soup on the agenda again. Always looking for different soup recipes. this sounds great.
What’s happening in Queenscliff? This soup sounds perfect for that type of weather!
Yum…we have on the news that our temps will drop next week, hopefully enough to just turn off the air conditioners!!! I can’t wait to make soup…..and yes, you do need a bigger pot!
Ahh, yes, I had some yummy Ribollita soup in Italy, somewhere on the other side of the river. I always said I was going to go back to that restaurant but could never remember where it was. I’ve looked at recipes but decided they are too much effort. You make it look so easy! Maybe I’ll actually give it a try one of these days.
You have all winter to try it and it really isn’t hard- promise!