Monday, January 2, 2012

Julia's Parmesan Broth Soup: A Show-Down

Okay--so here's Julia's parmesan broth recipe. She spoke very highly of the flavor and ease of the recipe, and with far more enthusiasm than I could muster for my recipe, so if that's any indicator, I have a suspicion this is the recipe to use. She emphasized the importance of including the cannellini beans, which originally she was inclined to skip, so fight the urge to veer from the recipe. They seem to know what they're talking about... 

As soon as I've stock-piled another cache of parmesan rinds, I'll give it a crack and report back, but in the meantime, I'd love to hear feedback if anybody gives either recipe a try.

Cowgirl Parmesan Broth w/ Swiss Chard & Cannellini Beans

Serves 4 to 6

8 cups vegetable stock
5-8 ounces of Parmesan rinds (I only had 8 Parm rinds which weighed 5 ounces)
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
4 cups loosely packed Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut into ribbons
2 cups cannellini beans (I used 2-15 oz. cans, which I strained and then rinsed with water several times)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon zest
The juice of half a lemon
Toasted country bread, optional for serving
Shaved Parmesan for garnish

Rather than throw away the Parmesan rinds, toss them in a bag and store it in the freezer. You can toss in a parmesan rind to enhance the flavor of any soup or use all of them to make this Parmesan broth.

Over low heat, steep 8 cups stock of your choice with 5-8 ounces Parmesan rinds for about 45 minutes, until the rinds are soft. Strain the liquid and reserve. The rinds can be thrown away.

While the broth is cooking, clean the Swiss chard well, remove the stems and cut into ribbons. 
In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, sauté 1 smashed garlic clove in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat just until the garlic begins to color. Add 1 dried red chili, crumbled and 4 cups loosely packed Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut into ribbons. Stir to coat. 

Add the warm, strained stock and 2 cups canned cannellini beans and bring to a simmer. Allow the flavors to meld and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add a teaspoon lemon zest and the juice of half a lemon. Cook another 2-3 minutes.

To serve, ladle soup over a slice of toasted country bread, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top and a dash of Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bon Appetit! 

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