October 2, 2009

The Pig is a Magical Mythical Animal

Last weekend, we went to a German restaurant with D&K. After a light appetizer of baked brie covered in butter (mmmm....), and a complimentary cup of potato-based chowder followed by a salad, our main courses arrived. In particular, E's order of Schweinehaxen arrived at the table with a deep thud.

As a German acquaintance commented when E spoke of what he had ordered later, "That is quite a piece of meat." E made a valiant effort, but there was much meat and skin left on the bone when he called the battle. So, I promised to take the leftovers and make minestrone.


I hadn't made a proper minestrone since I lived in Italy, actually. And now I can't imagine why I waited so long. It was delicious. It keeps well for leftovers, and I made so much that we were able to freeze half of it for delicious mid-winter thawing!

Spicy Early Fall Minestrone

-1 white onion, chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-4 pieces of bacon, chopped
-1/2 schweinehaxen
-1 can kidney beans
-3 pimiento d'espellette peppers from the garden (which are getting stronger in the late season, and now taste like medium strength jalapenos), sliced into thin rounds
-1 lb small yellow and green summer squash (the tail end of the harvest for the year), washed and chopped into rounds
-1 lb carrots, washed and chopped into rounds
-4 cans chicken broth, 4 cups or more water
-1 lb macaroni noodles
-1 small can tomato paste
-rosemary, sage, thyme, and basil from the garden to taste
-grated hard cheese (optional)

1. Brown bacon
2. Add onions and garlic and cook a few minutes
3. Add broth, beans, schweinehaxen, and herbs and enough water to cover, cook for 10 minutes
4. Add carrots, peppers, and tomato paste cook for 10 minutes, add more water if necessary to keep everything covered
5. Remove the bone and chop the meat and remove the skin/fat before returning the meat chunks to the pot.
6. Add macaroni and more water if necessary, cook 'til noodles are almost done, stirring regularly.
7. Add summer squash, cook for 5 minutes.
8. Remove from heat, serve immediately and top with grated hard cheese (pecorino was fabulous) if you like.


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