Cereals and vegetables soup

Oat, wheat and prosciutto soup

Another soup! We try to eat lots of vegetables so when last week we discovered a local Farmers Market, just down the road from where we live, it came as a nice surprise. It takes place every Sunday, so we stocked the house with organic vegetables, bread and meat. Nothing more handy!

Once at home we used some of them in a soup. The addition of oat and wheat gives it an unusual crunchiness and, to add some additional flavour we used a piece of prosciutto.,an ingredients which we sometime bring from Italy where we get it from a farmer. In addition, we added a small piece of guanciale. Guanciale is a delicacy of central Italy, it is an unsmoked bacon prepared with a pig’s cheek. Its name derives from guancia, Italian for cheek. Pork cheek is rubbed with salt, ground black pepper or red pepper and different spices and cured for weeks. Its flavour is stronger than other pork products and its texture is more delicate. Guanciale is traditionally used in dishes like pasta alla matriciana and spaghetti alla carbonara. Pancetta, a cured Italian bacon which is normally not smoked, can be used as a substitute when guanciale is not available.

The idea of the recipe is from an Italian cook book called “Le Zuppe – Ricette di osterie d’Italia” edited by Slow Food. It was a Christmas present and it collects more than 600 recipes, a nice book.

CEREALS AND VEGETABLES SOUP

Ingredients:

a small piece of guanciale
200 g wheat grains
200 g oat grains
2 shallots
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 leek
1 parsnip
1 celery stick
4 new potatoes
3 tablespoon chopped tomatoes
30 g piece of prosciutto
1 l beef stock
extra-virgin olive oil
rosemary
salt
black pepper

Heat a deep pan or pot with one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, a small piece of guanciale cut into cubes and a small branch of rosemary. Let the guanciale melt in the oil and then add the chopped shallots and garlic cloves. Cook until the shallots are golden and translucent. Then add the chopped vegetables and cook for 5 minutes adding a pinch of salt.

Rinse the wheat and oat grains under cold water. Drain well and add to the vegetables in the pot. Stir for a couple of minute and then add the chopped tomatoes, the boiling beef stock and the prosciutto. Cook for a couple of hours with the lid on on a low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent the soup from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.

Season with salt and black pepper and serve with a drop of extra-virgin olive oil.

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