December 20, 2010
Pumpkin, Bacon, Leek, and White Bean Soup
by Gareth Mark
Some things are just too easy.
I've been re-reading Fergus Henderson's books (The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating and Beyond Nose to Tail: More Omnivorous Recipes for the Adventurous Cook). If you haven't read his work, it's humorous and full of wonderful kitchen wisdom. I particularly enjoy his style of recipe writing.
Anyway, he published a recipe for Pumpkin and Bacon soup, and as you may recall from last time I have a large quantity of savory pumpkin purée needing to be used. Unfortunately, his recipe calls for raw pumpkin, but pumpkin and bacon seemed too good an idea to pass up, so I made up my own soup.
Cut about half a pound (250g) of nice home-cured bacon into lardons. Add to a saucepan on medium-low heat until the fat begins to render. Add 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced about the same thickness as the lardons. Cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are soft and luscious and the bacon crispy.
I could stop right here. Break out some bread and wine, eat the bacon and leeks, mop up the bacon fat with the bread, and drink the wine. Who needs soup? Except there was someone waiting for soup, so I couldn't eat that goodness, I had to wait. If I'd been alone, though....
Add a glass of pinot grigio to the bacon and leeks (and one to the cook as well for not eating the bacon and leeks), then add about a quart of pumpkin purée. While it returns to the simmer, open, rinse, and drain a can of white beans. Add the beans to the pot. While you're at it, toss in a leaf of sage, lightly bruised to release the essential oils.
Let the flavors get well acquainted in a simmer. Stir now and then. Be sure to take out the sage leaf before serving. If the bacon was good and salty, you won't even need to add any salt. Serve with plenty of bread, and maybe a light sprinkling of chopped parsley. Look out the window at the lovely snow as the soup (and wine) warm your insides.
[caption id="attachment_2398" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="December 14, 2010, 18 inches on the ground"][/caption]
Shall I tell you about that bread? Yes? Okay, next time.