Minestrone soup with corn bread and honey butter

Minestrone Soup.  Wedge salad with blue cheese dressing,  corn bread and hot honey butter.

For 4 people

 

Wedge Salad

Ingredients:

1 head iceberg lettuce (1/4 per person)
50 g crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
4 strips bacon
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

 

Method:

Frist, to make the dressing, in a small sauce pot on the stove, slowly melt down the blue cheese over medium low heat. Once just melted, remove it from the stove, and use a small whisk or a fork to incorporate the sour cream, buttermilk, mayonnaise and lemon juice until it comes together as a smooth dressing. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste. And if you have them around, the addition of chopped fresh herbs like parsley or chives always adds another layer of flavour.

Using an oven preheated to 160°C or a pan over medium heat on the stove, cook the bacon until its browned and well crisped. Once cooked, transfer the bacon strips to a paper towel to soak up any excess grease, and all them to cool.  Crumble the bacon into bit with your hands or chop it fine with knife.

While iceberg makes for the classic wedge salad, this works equally well with baby gem or romaine, so feel free to use your favourite variety. Wash your head of lettuce and quarter it lengthwise, keeping the core intact. Place the wedges onto plates and pour the dressing liberally overtop. Then top the salad with bacon bits and serve!

 

Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:

1 onion
4 celery stalks
3 carrots
20 white button mushrooms
½ a head of cabbage (or any hearty green you have around)
3 cloves garlic
3 bunches of broccoli rabe
100 g chick peas
10 new potatoes.
140 g pasta (tubetti or macaroni work great, but use what you have on hand)
½ a sprig rosemary
1 bunch lemon thyme
1 parmesan cheese rind.
2 liters chicken stock
Freshly cracked black pepper
Salt

 

Method:

Cut the onions, celery, carrots, button mushrooms, cabbage, scallions, garbanzo beans, and new potatoesinto a dice of equal size, roughly 1 cm square. Mince the garlic quite fine. Place the chicken stock, the parmesan rind the diced potatoes and a good few pinches of salt into a large pot and bring it up to a boil on the stove, then turn the heat down to a simmer. The potatoes will take about 15 minutes to cook through until tender. So wait a few minutes to drop the pasta in for its recommended cooking time, which is probably somewhere around 9 or 10 minutes. When the potatoes are about halfway there, throw in the rest of the vegetables, and keep simmering. Now take the time to pick and chop the aromatics herbs. Once the potatoes and the pasta are cooked, remove the pot from the stove and fish out the parmesan rind. Season the soup with more salt and pepper to taste, stir in the aromatic chopped herbs and grate a bit more parmesan cheese over top after its portioned into bowls.

 

Corn Bread and Honey Hot Sauce

Ingredients:

280 ml milk
55 g melted butter
50 g vegetable oil
1 egg
206 g all purpose flour
156 g  cornmeal
50 g sugar
9 g baking powder
5 g salt

For the hot honey butter:

200 g melted butter
100 g honey
50 g chili oil (or your favourite hot sauce)

 

Method:

Preheat your oven to 190°C. For the cornbread, first, in two separate bowls, combine all of the dry ingredients, and all of the wet ingredients together, then consolidate the tow, whisking well, but be careful not to over mix the batter!  Grease an appropriately sized baking pans with butter and pour the mixture in. Bake the cornbread at 190°C for 20-25 minutes of until a cake tester comes out clean and the surface has baked to a golden yellow-brown. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool, if you can wait that long…

For the honey butter, combine all the ingredients together (being a bit cautious with the heat, depending on the chili oil or hot sauce your choosing to use!) Cut the cornbread into squares and drizzle the honey butter over top.