Tag Archives: soup

Minestra Dei Morti: Soup of the Dead

In Italian Cuisine, there are many special treats to commemorate Day of the Dead / All Souls’ Day / Commemorazione dei defunti on November 2nd. However, most of these are sweet – called in Italian “sweets of the dead” or i dolci dei morti – including pan dei morti, torrone dei morti, Frutti di Martorana, and ossi dei morti! Shockingly, from time to time, even the Eaters are in the mood for something a bit more savory. For that craving, we turn to the far northern Italian region of Lombardy, which celebrates Day of the Dead with Minestra dei Morti, or “Soup of the Dead.” This is a humble pork broth soup served with vegetables and chickpeas, typical of cucina povera or “peasant cuisine” meant to make humble ingredients stretch. The legumes, strangely enough also have connecttions with the dead, being linked with funeral rites and offerings for the dead since antiquity. Typically this recipe was made with a whole pigs head, coinciding with the typical season of the hog slaughter, though you can go for a more standard cut of pork nowadays. We plan to make the recipe from Memorie di Angelina this November 2nd.

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Recipe Monday: Tortilla Soup

It was a cold weekend in Chicago, so we wanted something warm. We found a recipe for tortilla soup on the Food Network website, so we decided to give it a try.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium white onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
1 quart chicken stock, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil, for pan-frying
8 corn tortillas, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 cup shredded Jack cheese, optional
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
1 lime, cut in wedges, for serving

Directions:
Place a stockpot over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, jalapeños, and tomatoes; cook, stirring for 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked down and pulpy. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1-inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high flame. When the oil begins to smoke, add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until they are crisp on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter and sprinkle with salt while they are still hot. Ladle the hot soup into 4 soup bowls and put a pile of shredded chicken on top of each. Top with the diced avocado and fried tortilla strips (and cheese if using). Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

The best part was frying up the corn tortillas. We cut up small corn tortillas, tossed them in the hot oil and they cooked in 5 seconds flat. Be sure to have a slotted spoon ready! All in all, the soup was good, but not great. We feel it could have used a bit more of a kick. Maybe more jalapeños, or hot sauce. We added some more pepper, which helped liven it up a bit. Other than that all of the flavors worked really well, but how can you really go wrong with fresh cilantro and lime?

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