It's FINALLY started raining here in Tacoma. It's been months of solid, clear, perfect sunny days. I thought I'd miss the sun, but I realized that I do indeed love the rain. It's comforting and romantic and makes me want to hole up in my house with my kids, husband and dogs in front of the fireplace. Add to this the fact that we're in the process of purchasing our first home, I'm feeling VERY cozy and warm. I pulled out my fall boots and sweaters and then all of my stock pots and dutch ovens. Fall food commence!
One of the tastiest, easiest fall dishes in existence is soup. I'm a soup person- I could eat soup seven days a week and be very happy. It's comforting, warm, fills your body with healthy veggies and stock, and tastes amazing when done right! Minestrone is a simple soup loaded with vegetables, the salty flavor of bacon and parmesan rinds, and rich stock. My husband has started curing his own bacon for me at work (sugar free!) so I was easily able to purchase a large chunk unsliced. If you cannot find a big slab of bacon, opt for either thick-cut bacon and chop it very large or buy pancetta and cut that into one inch cubes. You just want salty, fatty pork any way you can get it.
- 8 oz bacon (slab or thick cut)
- 3 russet potatoes
- 2 white onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 carrots, washed but not peeled
- 3 ribs of celery, washed but not peeled
- 2 28-0z cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 quart of chicken stock
- 1/4 pound or two parmesan rinds
- 1 bunch kale (I used lacinato because it was on sale and pretty, you could use any kale)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan for grated garnish
Pull out your favorite soup or stock pot. Cut the bacon into one inch cubes and cook them over medium high heat until the fat starts to render and melt.
While the bacon is cooking, slice the potatoes into one-inch cubes and set them aside.I left the skin on but washed them very well. A lot of the vitamins and nutrients are in the skin, so I generally try to keep them on. They're also very tasty and make this soup more rustic and homey.
Cut the onion into a medium dice.
Smash the garlic and give it a rough chop.
Cut the carrots and celery into 1/2 inch pieces.
Continue cooking the bacon until it is slightly browned and starting to get crispy.
Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery to the pan with the bacon and stir well so everything is evenly coated in bacon fat.
Continue cooking until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the tomatoes, the chicken stock and the parmesan rinds to the pot and bring it to a boil.
When the soup comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium low and add the potatoes. Continue cooking uncovered for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the potatoes are cooked thoroughly, roughly chop the kale leaves (discarding the thick stems) and add this to the pot as well.
Stir the soup and season to taste. I didn't need to add any salt due to the parmesan and bacon, but I added quite a bit of pepper.
Ladle the soup into big bowls and sprinkle over some freshly grated parmesan. Enjoy!