Thursday, January 29, 2009


Brit Gal Sarah was kind enough to ask me to be a guest blogger
today, so hop on over to her place and check it out. She's a delightful
Brit bloggy newly transplanted into Tornado Alley, USA.

And a recent Blog of Note, Coffee Messiah, has designated today's
theme "kitchen". Well, the latest savory concoction in the Manor
Kitchen has been this wonderful recipe for minestrone. A nice
steaming bowl of soup is perfect for a cold snowy evening, don't you
think? The key is browning the tomato paste and slow cooking the
veggies. Patience pays off with this one. So put on your warm woolly
socks and simmer a pot of this yummy stuff on the stove. It's low cal,
tastes heavenly and best of all warm!

Winter Minestrone

1/3 lb sliced pancetta, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
3 medium red onions, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch Swiss chard
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes in juice
3 qt hot water
5 cups coarsely chopped cored Savoy cabbage
5 cups coarsely chopped escarole
1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
1 19 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, cooked ditalini pasta tossed
with oil, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cook pancetta, onions, celery, and carrots in oils in a wide 7 to 9 qt
heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Cut out stems from chard and chop stems, reserving leaves. Stir
chard stems into pancetta mixture with garlic, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp
pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until veggies are
very tender and begin to stick to bottom of pot, about 30 minutes.

Push veggies to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area
and cook, stirring until it starts to caramelize, about 2 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes with their juice, add hot water. Bring to a simmer,
stir in cabbage, escarole and Parmesan. Simmer until greens are
tender, about 30 minutes.

Coarsely chop chard leaves and stir into soup along with beans.
Simmer for 10 minutes, discard rind, add salt and pepper to taste.
Add cooked pasta, just before serving. Soup without pasta, can be
made 2 days ahead and chilled.

photo from January issue of Gourmet--
I dropped my camera and broke it!! ((sob))


  1. Willow thank you for me being my first ever guest blogger, what fun!

    This recipe looks delicious and perfect for icy days, so I will be giving it a try soon.

  2. I like this's a little different than my own and I'll give it a try.
    A cold in the nose? Hope you feel better!

  3. Willow, for your Aussie friends ~ what is escarole???
    The Minestrone sounds yummy, the cold does not. :)

  4. Lovely recipe. Many thanks to you and Brit Gal Sarah.

    Greetings from London.

  5. Great recipe Willow - shall cook that tonight, thank you. I have broken my camera too - so commiserations to you there, xv.

  6. I love and adore Nigel Slater and have all his books - he has such a realistic approach to cooking. The recipe sounds good as well

  7. Those pictures and the soup look very good, even this early in the am!

    Nice quote and Thanks for joining in and spreading the word!


  8. Hello Willow,

    Hope you feel better soon. The soup certainly ought to help, it looks scrummy. There's a savoy cabbage lurking in our fridge at the moment, so who knows?!

    Shame about the camera. Hope you are able to get a replacement soon.

  9. I think, willow, that there's a Guardian journalist reading your blog before sending his/her piece through. Either that or YOU work for The Grauniad (in-joke for Guardian readers only) and I ask you to come clear now :-).

    Greetings from London.

  10. After yesterday's storm, I think I need two bowls of that, please?

  11. This recipe sounds wonderful and the soup looks sooo yummy! I'm making a mistake of reading blogs just before my lunch break and it's made me extra hungry...


  12. Mr. Cuban, I think you are right! The sneaky. And I think they should share a bit of their paycheck with me, too, don't you think? ;^)

  13. Slater is right: I enjoy feeding the cat. I enjoy less feeding myself. And I am hungry at the moment.

  14. Natalie, how about endive or broad leaf chicory? What do you call it down there in your neck of the woods?

  15. We sooooo lucked out on this weather pattern, but the soup sounds terrif...can't wait to try it!

    Been lucky in the cold dept. too, must be the extra vitamin D I'm swilling down...take care friend!

  16. Not a sniffle for me all season, either, until now. And whammy!!

  17. This recipe sounds delicious...definitely one I will try. I love to use the cheese rinds in soup.

  18. wonderful quote. in fact I am right now making a protective pot of turkey soup for my son.

  19. I love minnestrone! Thanks for the recipe.

    Enjoy your tea!

  20. Thank you so much for the yummy recipe! Unfortunately, Minestrone is not one of the recipes that I managed to squeeze out of my Italian Grandma before she passed away last spring. I'm delighted to have the chance to add this to my Italian cooking repetoire. (Italian is the only food I do. Brendan does everything else.)

    I hope you start feeling better soon. Although I have not revealed this to the blog world yet, I'm considered by my family to be the medicine woman. During bouts of flu and sinus trouble, a Neti Pot, Elderberry, Oregano Oil, and Colloidal Silver are usually my best friends.

  21. Get well soon.

    The minestrone recipe looks so good. I love making a good soup and this definitely looks like one I might try.

    Sorry to hear about your camera. Hope you can have it repaired or replaced soon.

  22. Oh, that soup looks fabulous. I am definitely going to give it a try (I love minestrone). Sorry about your camera, and especially about your cold. Ick! But the Montale should help...

    Feel better!

  23. Nice .. my own recipe is to go to the market, buy a can of soup, pop the top, hot it up and eat ... deelish and for someone who doesnt cook its almost easier than calling for take out!

  24. With the icy mess left on the roads and trees from yesterday's storm, it's a nice day to settle inside with that minestrone soup.

  25. Wonderful Nigel Slater's quote! The minestrone shot was very well chosen.
    Sorry to hear about your camera, Willow...

  26. I sure hope that meal is low cal but I wonder how many servings would support such a claim! I looks tasty enough for seconds...( stop!). Love the poem, too. Eating together is a bonding practice. We should all adopt the French practice of scheduling our lives around important daily meals.

  27. With all this ice and cold.....that soup is just what we all need! YUM. Thank you for sharing the recipe! ~Cheryl

  28. Lovely job you and Brit' Gal Sarah are doing for your readers. Thank you!

  29. Every once in awhile my wife will make a pot of minestrone and it looks so good but for whatever reason, I just don't like the stuff. Your recipe looks good and I'll show it to elf ear. Maybe she'll make it and I'll like Minestrone for the first time.

  30. this looks go delicious! i was hoping that your camera was fixable!! i'd be lost without mine so i hope you are back in shutter order soon.

  31. Yummy, just yummy, Willow. I am a soup lover so I'm copying the recipe down.

  32. This Winter Day (by Maya Angelou)

    The kitchen is its readiness
    white green and orange things
    leak their blood selves in the soup

    Ritual sacrifice that snaps
    an odor at my nose and starts
    my tongue to march
    slipping in the liquid of its drip

    The day, silver striped
    in rain, is balked against
    my window and the soup.

  33. Shaista, I love this Angelou poem!! Thank you so much for sharing it. :^)

  34. Sounds good Willow. I'll put on my long shorts and wooly flip flops and give it a try. Pappy

  35. Yum! I love that Slater quote....preparing food and eating with someone has meanings in your dreams, too! ;)

  36. Horrors about the camera.
    I am in love with my new cheap little CoolpixS610
    which goes everywhere in my pocket.
    Off to sample wares at Fat Witch Bakery in Chelsea Market.

  37. I never take my woolly socks off - even in bed!
    I love soup and this one looks yummy!


    P.S. Check out my little "La Traviata" clip in my sidebar - it's sweet!

  38. Oh no! You dropped your camera and {gasp} broke it!!! Oh dear... time to get a new one, I suppose. And, perhaps some minestrone will soothe you a bit.

    The recipe sounds delish. I'm intrigued by the pancetta and browning the tomato paste. I'll have to try this. I love minestrone soup!

  39. Loved your Brit Gal blog! Glad I dropped in, will pop in again.

  40. Yum. It does look good--sounds easy and delicious. We have had the wackiest weather--one day in the teens, and the next it's in the 50's. Go figure. Stay warm, Willow!

  41. Willow, I just noticed the picture on your sidebar of the person holding the crystal ball. Did I miss where you told about the artist and the piece. I really like it. Do tell.

  42. Stevie, it's Kahlil Gibran's "Self Portrait and Muse", 1911.

  43. Also showing the recipe of soup in the blog has a many layered meaning.

    It seems very healty.

  44. I have to make this. It sounds divine. Love your pic and the texture of the table.

  45. Yummy yummy, I'll be scootin over to those othah bloggity blogs too!

  46. Oh yum. I can't wait to try it. I'm hopeless at following a recipe to the letter but minestrone sounds heavenly in this permafrost.

  47. This is certainly a great meal for winter, and healthy with all those veggies. Thanks, Willow.

  48. Hi! I made links to all of the blog I found who made a "Theme Thursday: Kitchen" post.

    I agree with the quotation about sharing meals. It's always lovely to be at the receiving end of a wonderful meal. Haha! jk.

  49. This sounds and looks wonderful...

    Feel better soon...I can relate as Rosebud and I have been sick for the last couple of days...ICK is right!

  50. So sorry about your camera but I know how easily it happens...I have dropped and broken to different degrees two different cameras.(a third I got wet and ruined)...I now only use my camera with a neck strap...

    Lovely soup - I never heard of browning tomato paste before..will try it...Hope you feel better!

  51. Your minestrone recipe is very similar to mine . . . the large pot of which we have been eating from all week long!

    I love the Nigel Slater quote; isn't he wonderful?

    So, so sorry to hear about your camera.

  52. i'm definitely going to try this soup this week! it looks like just the ticket for fighting off the winter blues!

  53. This soup is the best. You'll love it!


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)