This is a dish that makes you rediscover the rural tradition and colors of the season! This soup is a great main dish, perfect for a cold, winter day. It ‘s simple but very nutritious, because it is made of legumes and vegetables. Legumes, in fact, are an excellent source of protein, fiber, minerals (calcium, potassium, iron) and B vitamins. In the past, legumes were considered the meat of poor people, and were commonly present on the peasants’ table.
The recipe that I am proposing contains a mix of dried legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas. And to make this dish even more tasty, I prepare a soffritto with onion, garlic, celery and carrot. The preparation is very simple, but it requires a bit of time, because legumes have to be soaked in water before cooking. To save time you can use a pressure cooker, which reduces the preparation time without sacrificing taste. You can top this soup with croutons or grated Parmesan cheese or, if you prefer, you can put a few drops of hot chili olive oil before serving.
ZUPPA DEL CONTADINO (FARMER’S SOUP)
Preparation time: 1 hour + 10 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour Servings: 6
340 g (12 oz ) mix of dried legumes (borlotti beans or cranberry beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, cut into slices
1 leg of celery, sliced
1 potato, cut into cubes
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tomatoes, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a large glass bowl soak the legumes overnight with bay leaf. Drain and place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to boil, cook covered with a lid over medium heat for about 30 minutes Drain, remove the bay leaf and set aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium-low heat saute onion, garlic, carrot , celery and potato in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the legumes, mix and cook over high heat for a few minutes, stirring with a spoon. Add the tomatoes and cover with plenty of water. Cook covered for about 30 minutes until all the legumes are tender (the exact cooking time should be indicated on the package). Add the salt and cook for 1 minute. Add some freshly ground pepper to taste and drizzle olive oil before serving.
Note: When cooking legumes, it is important to add salt only at the end, because the addition of salt at the beginning will make the legumes less tender. It is also important when cooking to maintain a constant temperature. Paola