Halfway through making this Galician soup, I started to have second thoughts. The recipe came from Spain...on the Road Again, the Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, and Claudia Bassols public television show where they drive around Spain in Mercedes Benzes with cameras trained on them eating. Sure, it tasted great in the hills of Spain, but here all I had was a little sautéed bacon, some cubed potatoes and turnips, an onion, a can of white beans, and water in a pot. As my kitchen filled with the unmistakable smell of boiled vegetables, I wondered where this soup was headed. Do I even like turnips? I don't seem to like their smell. I put my faith in the Spanish chorizo still to come and the hearty greens that would wilt in the last minutes of cooking.
Of course, it all came together beautifully. I never would have thought to put a cured sausage into a soup, but it flavored the broth with a porky spiciness that imbued all the humble vegetables with bright flavor and color. The result is filling and healthy, a peasant soup to feed an army for nothing. In fact, I halved the recipe on the show's blog (the original supposedly feeds 4-6) and my recipe still yielded three dinners for two.
- Yield:4 to 6
- 1/4 pound thickly sliced pancetta or slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 14-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/4 pound Spanish chorizo, casings removed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 pound turnip greens (or other dark leafy green, such as kale or spinach), stemmed and coarsely chopped
In a large soup pot, cook the pancetta or bacon over medium heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered.
In the meantime, peel and dice the potato, turnip, and onion. Add them to the pot along with enough water to cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes until almost soft but not falling apart.
Add the beans, chorizo, and greens and continue simmering until the greens are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread.