From Italy, zuppa di fagioli is often overlooked in favour of its more illustrious cousin, minestrone. This peasant soup, however, is full of flavour and can be vegetarian or not, depending on your preference.
2 - 14 oz (400 g) cans low-sodium cannellini beans
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek (white and light green parts), cleaned and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 lbs (1 kg) spinach, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
4 cups (1 L) homemade or low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Put 1 can of beans with its liquid in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Drain other can, rinsing and reserving beans, and discarding liquid.
Heat oil in large heavy-bottom pan over medium heat; add leek, garlic, thyme, and oregano. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft. Add celery, carrot, spinach, and tomato; cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, or until spinach has wilted.
Stir puréed beans and stock into vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add drained beans and stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve in warm bowls, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Each serving contains: 335 calories; 20 g protein; 6 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 53 g carbohydrates (5 g sugars, 12 g fibre); 206 mg sodium
Low in sodium, tomatoes are a great source of several vitamins and minerals, and are a good source of fibre. They contain vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system, as well as vitamins A and K. Tomatoes also provide lycopene, which helps fight free radicals, lowers cholesterol, prevents heart disease, and helps with age-related vision problems.
source: "International Soups", alive #360, October 2012
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.