Brisbane has finally turned the temp down to ‘nice and cool’ after a stinking, long summer.
Time to get the second doonah out of the cupboard and the soup pot on the stove.
And bake a little bread to go with.
Good hearty soup makes me happy in the way a drive through the mountains with some good tunes and a thermos of sweet black tea on a slightly overcast day does.
“It might seem crazy, what I’m ’bout to say”
Roast Bacon, Polenta and Autumn Vegetable Soup.
Score the hocks and roast in a high oven for about 45 mins. In the meantime, in your soup pot place the celery tips, fennel tops and outers, thyme, anise and chicken stock. Add the hocks when done and cover with water. Simmer gently on the stove with a lid ajar for about 3hrs. They should be just falling apart. Chop or grate the fennel, celery, garlic and zucchini and put aside separately. Remove the hocks to a plate and cool in the refrigerator.
Strain the stock ( you should have about 2 litres) and give your pot a rinse and a wipe. Add a little olive oil and sauté the fennel, celery and garlic until soft. Add the bacon stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Whisk in the polenta and turn the heat down. You need to stir at regular intervals – every 15 minutes say, or else the polenta will try to stick.
“Give it all you got, don’t hold it back!”
While that’s happening shred the meat off the hocks and discard the scraps. The polenta is used in this dish as a thickening agent as well as adding flavour and texture. After about an hour the polenta should have broken down enough, however some instant polentas are more instant than others. Add a little more water and simmer for longer if needed.
Add the shredded bacon and grated zucchini. Serve with some crusty bread, a dollop of mascarpone, a squeeze of lemon and some snipped chives. If your feeling fancy a few drops of truffle oil will go a long way. Be careful with seasoning throughout the process, the bacon bones should bring enough with them.
WHAT KID DID
Kid used the scissors to snip the chives, used the grater to prep the fennel and zucchini. Saute’d the vegetables, whisked in the polenta and kept a constant vigil with the wooden spoon. We also made what I’m calling ‘Soup Bread’.
SOUP BREAD – We took the recipe from a recent post of ours called ‘The Son of a Baker Man’ and used what we had. I didn’t have much flour and we didn’t do a pre-dough. Instead we ended up with 1.5 cups semolina,1 cup polenta,1 cup wholemeal flour and a little plain flour.
Our soup bread was great for soup in that it was a little heavy but not doughy. You wouldn’t make sandwiches with it but for dunking in a hearty brothy soup, you couldn’t fault it. It was fun to make and I got to try out my new griddle pan to toast it too.
Kid ate 3 bowls of this soup to my 2. She’s a growing girl.
Either way it certainly left us feeling, well, happy ! 🙂
‘Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth’