When you see that blanket of mist roll over the hills for the first time in Autumn and you inhale that morning breath and feel the cool air slip into your lungs. It’s soup time.
Slow cooked soups are an easy meal to make for the family, especially when the temperature drops suddenly.
I have been cooking my version of Minestrone soup since 2012 when living in Vancouver, Canada where I had minimalist kitchen with few pieces of equipment.
Prep time: 20 mins – Serves 8-10
1 large ham hock or 2 small ones
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 large carrots chopped into small pieces
2 celery sticks chopped into small pieces
1 zucchini chopped into small pieces
2 potatoes chopped into small cubes
2-3 garlic cloves crushed
3 tablespoons fresh herbs chopped; oregano, thyme and rosemary all work well or you can use dry ones
2 x 400g cans of finely chopped tomatoes
1 litre of vegetable broth
500ml of water
400g tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup Macaroni or risoni pasta
Parsley or basil chopped to serve.
In a large slow cooker, place olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, potato, zucchini, garlic and herbs with the ham hock sitting on top.
Pour in tomatoes, stock and water and place lid on top. Turn slow cooker on low setting for 5 hours. Alternatively on the stove, in a large deep soup pot, bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer for 3-4 hours.
When slow cooker has reached the 5 hour time, turn to warm setting. Remove ham hock and on a board and let cool for a bit till warm. Discard the fat and bone and then shred pieces of tender meat and set aside.
Spoon half of the quantity of soup out of the slow cooker into a blender or thermomix and slowly blend until fine consistency. Pour back into the slow cooker, along with the shredded ham and cannellini beans.
Cook pasta as per directions on pack and then stir through soup and serve.
Garnish with fresh parsley or basil.
Note: My children loved some parmesan grated on top sometimes too with some sourdough bread.