Minestrone

Minestrone in Poland is called włoska zupa which means Italian soup.

It is a mixed vegetable soup (sometimes made with a meat base stock) and often has pasta or rice added to it.  Some versions have grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on before serving.

The name comes from –  ministrare – to serve or to administer (some think this links to serving or administering it for health reasons).

My memories of this soup is that it had always had some shredded Savoy cabbage in it.

Savoy cabbage was introduced into England in the 18th century from The Netherlands and it is named after the Savoy Region in France.

In Poland it was introduced in the 16th century along with other vegetables by the Italian chefs that came with the Italian Princess Bona Sforza who married the Polish King, Zygmunt the Old.  In Polish it is called włoska kapusta  which means Italian cabbage.

I have found dozens of recipes and all use many different vegetables – I could not really get a consensus so have tried out a couple of variations.

Here is an alphabetic list of suggested vegetables:

  • Beans – Borlotti or Cannellini
  • Beans – whole green
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Courgettes
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Peppers – red, orange or yellow
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes (or tomato purée)

You need around 600g of mixed vegetables  to make  2 litres of soup with 100 – 150g being Savoy Cabbage.

As a minimum, I would always have: carrots, onions (or leeks), Savoy cabbage and tomatoes.

You can use whatever is in season as well as frozen or tinned vegetables.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana) or Oregano (Origanum vulgare) are two of the herbs used to flavour Minestrone as well as Flat-leaved Parsley and maybe Basil.

Marjoram & Oregano are both in the Lamiaceae (Mint) family with Marjoram having a milder, floral and woody flavour and Oregano being stronger, more pungent and spicy.  (Marjoram is more readily available in Poland – especially in dried form).

I often just use dried Italian Herbs.

Minestrone Version 1

Ingredients

  • 3 – 4 tomatoes
  • 100g of Savoy cabbage
  • 2 – 3 carrots
  • 2 -3 sticks of celery
  • 50g green beans
  • 1 large onion
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Marjoram or Italian herbs – fresh or dried
  • Salt &  ground black pepper

Method

  • Skin the tomatoes using boiling water and chop them up.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces and fry in hot olive oil.
  • Chop the carrots, celery and green beans and add them to onion.
  • Continue frying gently to soften them.
  • Place these  and the tomatoes into a large pan and add 1.5 – 2 litres of boiling water.
  • Shred the cabbage into fine strands and add these to the pot.
  • Add the herbs and salt and ground black pepper.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 45 minutes.
  • Season to taste.

Option

If you like more of a tomato taste add a couple of tablespoons of tomato purée before simmering.

 

Served in Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 to 1998.

Minestrone Version 2

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 100 -150g Savoy cabbage
  • 2 – 3  carrots
  • 2  – 3 leeks
  • Spinach  – can be 50g of frozen
  • 1 -2 tins of Borlotti or Cannellini beans
  • 1.5 litres of chicken stock – can be from cubes
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Marjoram or Italian herbs – fresh or dried
  • Salt &  ground black pepper
  • Cooked pasta – a small handful per serving

Method

  • Skin the tomatoes using boiling water and chop them up.
  • Chop the leeks into rounds and fry in hot olive oil.
  • Chop the carrots and pepper and add them to leeks.
  • Continue frying gently to soften them.
  • Place these and the tomatoes into a large pan and add 1.5 – 2 litres of chicken stock.
  • Shred the cabbage into fine strands and add these to the pot.
  • Add the herbs and salt and ground black pepper.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 20 minutes.
  • Drain the beans from the tin and add these to the soup.
  • Add the spinach.
  • Bring to the boil again and then simmer for around 20 minutes
  • Season to taste.
  • Add some cooked pasta (chopped if necessary) to each soup plate and cover with hot soup and serve.

Served in Royal Doulton – Burgundy – 1959 to 1981.

Published by

jadwiga49hjk

I love cooking and baking. I love trying out new recipes and currently am trying out many old favourites from my Polish cookbooks and family recipes. I am trying out many variations, often to make them easier but still delicious. I collect glass cake stands and china tableware, mainly tea plates, jugs and serving dishes, many of which I use on a daily basis. They are an eclectic mixture from the 20th & 21st century.

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