28 Oct2009

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I know it sounds like a bit of a joke. You make a “healthy” vegetable soup, but then add jamon iberico to the pot!? But many times I cook based on what I find in the groceries and markets, and sometimes tweak classic recipes just a bit hoping it will all turn out just fine. I have been under the weather lately, so I have been cranky. And cranky and hungry is not a good combination for Marketman. At first I thought it was a bout of hay fever, and after all those massive storms that hit Luzon, the trees, plants and grasses were all wantonly spewing sperm (pollen) into the atmosphere, making folks like me utterly miserable. But now I think it’s something respiratory, but with experiences like this outrageous visit to the doctor (please read it if you need a good laugh), I rarely make a trip to consult with a physician unless it seems VERY SERIOUS. So I thought I should make a large pot of vegetable soup instead, and imagine my surprise when I checked the archives and it seems I have never posted this house favorite before…

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In the meat section at S&R today, I spied all of these small packages of jamon iberico with a “buy one, take one” promo. I figured they had finally cut up the 2-3 whole legs of jamon iberico that had been in the chillers for eons, possibly years, and didn’t sell due to their shockingly high price tags… some PHP25,000+ per leg, down from the old price of somewhere near PHP50,000. I love jamon iberico, but I would have a seriously hard time buying a whole leg, despite having the perfect jamon iberico stand, here, that I got from Santa for Christmas 2007, and sits like S&M art in our beach kitchen… At PHP599 for a small package, it was still pricey even if I got one free, but I knew these little chunks harbored incredible flavor, so I bit the bullet and bought some. Next I grabbed some veggies from the chillers and it was off home to start chopping…

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Into a large Le Creuset enameled pot I added some olive oil, then chopped carrots, onions and celery and let that sweat for some 5 minutes or so over medium heat. Then I chopped up the jamon iberico into smaller bits and added that to the pot and sauteed for a few minutes. Next I added some sliced small leeks, some finely diced potatoes and sauteed that for a while longer. Next I added some chopped yellow peppers, some baguio beans and kept stirring for several minutes more. When it seemed the veggies were happy and wanting a bath… pour in a couple of cups of chicken stock and double the amount of water. Add some dried or fresh herbs such as oregano, basil or parsley if you have them. I then added a can of white beans, drained, and a can of chopped Italian tomatoes and brought this all up to a boil. After about 10-15 minutes, the soup thickens a bit and you can taste it to adjust the seasoning, it may require some salt and pepper, depending on how salty your ham and stock were to begin with. I then added finely sliced napa cabbage, some regular cabbage, sliced green beans, asparagus, and whatever other veggies you might have in the fridge that you think might work fine in the soup. Cook a little longer and it’s done. It it a thick, flavorful soup chockfull with veggies but it doesn’t take hours and hours to develop its flavor. In this case, the jamon iberico was quite noticeable and its flavor carried through nicely with all the veggies and beans and potatoes. I sometimes make this soup with bacon, or pancetta, or other leftover salty meats and it rarely fails… The soup will heat up nicely the following day as well. Add a little drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground pepper and even some grated parmesan and its a meal in itself! And yes, this still falls into my “diet category” of dishes, after all, each large bowl only gets a few teeny weeny bits of jamon iberico in it. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Joyce says:

    nice pic of the soup on the top page. now am craving for a homemade soup to go with the cooler temperature. yumm

    Oct 28, 2009 | 4:35 pm

     
  2. Hershey says:

    It almost sounded like a minestrone :))

    Oct 28, 2009 | 4:50 pm

     
  3. Marketman says:

    Hershey, yup it’s close to a minestrone… add some pasta and it could be pasta and veggie soup, remove the cabbage and add pasta and its somewhat of a pasta e fagioli…

    Oct 28, 2009 | 4:57 pm

     
  4. faith says:

    Thanks for linking to your old post about that visit to the doctor. I had a great good laugh reading it! :D

    Oct 28, 2009 | 5:03 pm

     
  5. anne says:

    aahhh the ultimate comfort food!! I love such hearty soups paired up with some piping hot crusty baguette smothered with sweet butter and a sprinkling of sea salt … im home!!!!!!!

    Oct 28, 2009 | 5:15 pm

     
  6. VickieB says:

    Yum! I’ve been trying to do vegetable soups but it somehow always lacks flavor–maybe the jamon iberico is the secret. I noticed that you use the le creuset pots quite frequently. I’ve been wanting to buy one but am not willing to buy a whole set. What size would you recommend that would allow some flexibility for various cooking uses (i.e., soups, roasts, etc.)? Thanks!

    Oct 28, 2009 | 6:30 pm

     
  7. anne says:

    i am cutting down on my meat intake so i tend to make hearty vegetables soups regularly for lunch or dinner .. in big batches i have chopped onions,carrots,celery,garlic,mushrooms and sometimes i add tomatoes , roast them in the oven till all vegetables caramelized and I use this as a vegetable stock base.. it always turns out flavorful no need to use any stock cubes or canned vegetable stocks

    Oct 28, 2009 | 6:51 pm

     
  8. Connie C says:

    Ayy, MM. Take care. H1N1 global pandemic!

    Yeah, an Indian doctor claims taking hot drinks ( not scalding temperatures), tea, water, as the Chinese do, soups frequently, as well as flushing the nostrils with saline water helps in keeping down viral proliferation in the nasopharynx (where the virus incubates till your system is invaded) by flushing down the virus, and especially after being exposed to a big crowd. Come to think of it, makes good sense. No harm following the advice. And yes, try not to touch your face, unless you are eating, or itching and of course after a good hand washing. We do take these things for granted, but think of the number of times we touch anything that has come in contact with many unclean hands.

    Oct 28, 2009 | 7:28 pm

     
  9. Rona Y says:

    You need a neti pot! Or the squeeze version (easier to use). They’re amazing for helping relieve allergies!

    It’s starting to get cold enough in my part of the world to make soup. I started with a winter melon and ground pork soup like my dad used to make. It’s not nearly as good as his was, but it still feels like a nice warm hug!

    Oct 28, 2009 | 7:33 pm

     
  10. MrsKookie says:

    It looks good, healthy and flavorful. I want. now. :D

    Oct 28, 2009 | 7:34 pm

     
  11. Alex says:

    Maybe you mean SPORE instead of sperm in the air?

    Oct 28, 2009 | 8:18 pm

     
  12. kim says:

    the soup looks yummy. and very nutritious too with all the veggies in it. ive been looking for new soup recipes to add a bit of variety to our existing daily household menu, and this is perfect. thanks mm

    Oct 28, 2009 | 8:43 pm

     
  13. Marketman says:

    Alex, I actually did literally mean SPERM and not spore, read more here. Essentially pollen is the fine powder that swirls around the air (more in certain seasons than others) and which convey the “sperm” cells of plants as they try to impregnate their neighbors. Trust me, I hate getting hay fever. :)

    Oct 28, 2009 | 8:53 pm

     
  14. psychomom says:

    the soup looks incredible!!!! that would be perfect for a cold autumn or winter day. i read your old post regarding the doctor’s visit, was laughing so hard tears came down my face. hahhahaha. take care of yourself.

    Oct 28, 2009 | 9:18 pm

     
  15. marguerite says:

    That looks great!

    Oct 28, 2009 | 10:09 pm

     
  16. pia l. says:

    I have allergic rhinitis myself, but unlike yours, mine was more of the perennial type, meaning it can hit me anytime it wanted to, no pollen season required. By the time I got twice a week attacks, I gave up and saw an allergologist. I was prescribed a steroidal nasal spray and my life has been attack-free since then.

    What we usually advise patients who cannot afford the nasal spray is to flush their nostrils with homemade saline water daily, just like what Connie C said. It does help a little bit.

    Oct 28, 2009 | 11:31 pm

     
  17. odie says:

    I have read your “visit to the doctor” entry so many times, and i still went to the link again, and it still cracked me up!!:) thank you!!

    Oct 28, 2009 | 11:41 pm

     
  18. Muzzy says:

    Hey Marketman, about those mango-fattened pigs you’re considering, maybe you should turn them into jamon zubu…if you get the same kind of marbling as the waton pork, it could give jamon iberico a run for the money.

    Oct 29, 2009 | 1:30 am

     
  19. cherryo, yvr says:

    Such a hearty looking soup! Now I know what I’ll be making for dinner tonight and I’ll be off to find some jambon iberico first. That blog about your doctor’s visit was hilarious! I’m a dental professional so now I am wondering if you have any adventures with your dentist, too.

    Oct 29, 2009 | 6:58 am

     
  20. kurzhaar says:

    Marketman, wouldn’t be surprised if it is an allergy to mold spores and not pollen…it’s not just plants taking the opportunity to procreate. Thanks for posting that hilarious link! :)

    VickieB, I too am a huge fan of Le Creuset (and have owned my own set since my early twenties). But you can get decent enamelled cast iron that is less pricey and performs well including Lodge and Mario Batali’s line of pots. I am much pickier about plain cast iron where the quality and grain of the cast iron is much more important, and that is why I prefer older American-made cast iron over more recent products.

    As for size, I suggest that you actually pick the pots up and see how you feel about handling them as I know some people cannot deal with the weight of cast iron, enamelled or not. I usually prefer stainless steel for tasks like boiling pasta or making stock…though for a slow cooked soup or stew I would probably use one of the Le Creuset pots.

    I find that I frequently use a smaller French oven (covered casserole) for risottos, the larger French ovens for braises, curries, etc., and baking dishes for roasted vegetables. I like the ridged grill for grilled bread and quesadillas. Come to think of it, I don’t have a single Le Creuset item that I don’t use. :)

    Oct 29, 2009 | 7:39 am

     
  21. quiapo says:

    When you get a whole iberico ham, the skin is peeled off gradually (to conserve moisture) as you slice. I freeze the skin parings specifically to use in soups and casseroles. Should you get one with the bone in, then you have the basis for a fine stock. I also trim off some of the fat to use in fried rice. Apparently the fat of a true iberico has a high proportion of Omega 3, and is not as dangerous as from a domestic pig. In fact, in Spain it is considered a healthy food by many.

    Oct 29, 2009 | 1:10 pm

     
  22. farida says:

    MM, your soup looks good. I envy you for that jamon iberico. Was tempted to smuggle it in from Spain. I have a package of pancetta sitting in the fridge, now I know how I’m going to use it. And your visit to the doctor was hilarious.

    Oct 29, 2009 | 1:18 pm

     
  23. gigi tadios says:

    Thanks for this posting MM. I’d rate it second to the story you posted for April Fool’s. Hilarious!

    Oct 30, 2009 | 12:02 pm

     
  24. Marketman says:

    gigi, I gather you mean the doctor story, not the soup post, right? :)

    Oct 30, 2009 | 6:23 pm

     
  25. Cecilia says:

    Yes, MM, as quiapo says, Iberico has very high content of Omega 3, so it is actually healthy. The Spaniards supposedly lovingly refer to it as the four-legged olive tree.

    Nov 1, 2009 | 9:36 am

     
  26. Cecilia says:

    MM, approximately how much does a pound or kilo of Iberico cost there?

    Nov 1, 2009 | 9:38 am

     
 

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