Fava Bean & Proscuitto Soup

Fall in Southern California is a strange phenomenon. It can be 90 degrees on the coast one day and 66 the next. We’ve run the gamut this year. Humid, yep. Dry, totally. Chilly, not enough for my liking but, sure. Hot, definitely. I love living here, there is nothing like a fall sunset in Encinitas, it is a gorgeous sight to behold. We don’t, however, get that chill in the air that most associate with the beginning of this beautiful season. Therefore, we need to create a sense of it ourselves, in our homes, in our kitchens.

I get really excited about soups, like ridiculously so. I think homemade soup is such a wonderful thing to have in the refrigerator. My husband works odd hours, so he loves when there is something easy for him to reheat and enjoy when he gets home. Soups are also one of those heavenly dishes that are usually better the day after you make them.

I’ve decided that, over the next year, I am going to cook my way through one of my favorite soup cookbooks. It is a tiny little thing, but everything I’ve made from it so far has huge flavor. Zuppe is collection of recipes from the kitchen of The American Academy in Rome. The author, Mona Talbott, has broken the book down by season with about 11-15 recipes per season. I’m going to start with the first recipe and make one a week, in order, over the next year. While I am planning to blog some of my favorites, including this first one, I won’t be blogging all of them. I encourage you to buy the little book (proceeds support the Rome Sustainable Food Project) and follow along with me on social media, sharing your stories and pictures. Of course, I’ll still blog other recipes. With the holidays coming up, I have a ton to share!

For now, join me on my first of the Zuppe Challenge…

Sing, Sing, Sing performed by Louis Prima…

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Fava Bean & Proscuitto Soup adapted from Zuppe by Mona Talbott. Serves 4 to 6.

You’ll need: 

  • 10 1/2 oz. dried peeled fava beans
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5-6 oz. proscuitto shank (I bought a boneless, trimmed hock from the butcher)
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried chili pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
  • 8 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 bay leaves

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Peel and cut the onions, celery and carrots into a small dice. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut the prosciutto shank in half.

Over low heat, in a 6-qt. stockpot, cook the onion, celery and carrots in olive oil until the vegetables are coated in oil and glistening. Add a pinch of salt and cook until tender, about 5 more minutes.

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Add the garlic and dried pepper flakes to the pan, stir and cook for 2 minutes.

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Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, stir and simmer for 5 more minutes.

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Add the fava beans and proscuitto to the vegetables.

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Cover with 3 quarts of cold water.

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Bring soup to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the fava beans have softened and the soup has a creamy texture.

Remove bay leaves and discard. Remove the tender proscuitto and cut into small pieces (it will really just fall apart), return it to the soup.

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Taste and re-season with salt if necessary (be sure to taste it first, the prosciutto adds quite a bit of saltiness). The soup will thicken as it cools, you may need to thin with water when reheating.

Enjoy!

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A delicious, hearty fall soup!

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Cheers!

56.127 – Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

I let my husband, Ben, pick the next number.  Next post will be one of you, I promise.  I’m still trying to get a handle on this whole “blog” thing.  He picked a very random number, pretty sure it doesn’t mean anything to him, but he means the world to me.

My husband, Ben.  The most incredible, loving, intelligent, and compassionate man in my life.  The father of our two boys and proud owner of Reggie, the WonderDog (not really, but have you met Reg?  He is pretty rad).  Ben is a sports guy.  A REAL sports guy.  He actually gets to watch, read, write, and talk sports for a living.  He loves his job and is the hardest working sports guy in San Diego.  A weekday radio show from 6-9 a.m. on XTRA Sports 1360 and weeknight sports on 10 News.  Check him out, his link is in the blogroll to the right of this post.  This man deserves all of the wonderful; he is an angel (no joke, he may really be one).

Number 56 is Food & Wine magazine.

When a magazine is picked, I’ll use the most current issue.  I was excited when the magazine came up for this post.  I subscribe to a handful of cooking and food magazines and will feature them a lot on this blog.  Honestly, I cook more from my magazines than my cookbooks.  Each offers something different, new and exciting. They highlight seasonal ingredients, fresh ideas and have a broad spectrum of recipes.  I really have no fear when cooking from the magazines.  Whether it’s knowing that other home cooks across the world are cooking right along with me, or that I just enjoy the challenge and don’t worry about failing.  If you don’t have a subscription yet, I encourage you to get one and just go for it!  The more you mess up in your kitchen, the more you learn.

I’ve subscribed to Food & Wine for over ten years.  If you are a food and wine lover, this is your magazine.  I read more for the food than the wine.  While I appreciate the occasional glass of vino, I’m a craft beer gal.  We have an amazing craft beer scene in Southern California and I do my best to love it, support it and drink it!  Food & Wine is a fantastic magazine for the wine lover.  Great articles, pairing notes and more.  I encourage you to check it out.

.127, I ran into another number snag, which will happen with some of the books and most of the magazines.  There isn’t a recipe on page 127 of December’s issue of Food & Wine.  When this happens, I’ll just keep flipping the pages until I get to the next recipe.  Page 136.

Shrimp.

I don’t do shrimp, nope, never.  Shrimp is my ONE “thing”.  I haven’t been able to stand shrimp since I was 2-years old.  I can detect shrimp in anything.  Yet, here I am, challenging myself with this blog.  I knew that I would run into shrimp at some point; just didn’t think it would be so soon.  I will make this shrimp recipe, which will be fabulous for those of you who like shrimp.  Have I mentioned that I have never cooked shrimp? Never.  I’m scared.

Page 136 of this month’s Food & Wine is a recipe for Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce.  This will be a fantastic recipe for your holiday cocktail party.  Loads of flavor (prosciutto, bourbon, barbecue sauce?!?), easy to prep ahead and simple to eat with just your fingers.  Did I mention beautiful?

The Recipe – Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce adapted from Food & Wine December 2013.  This recipe makes 24 shrimp.

You’ll need:

For the barbecue sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon ev olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved & thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (yay!)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce, preferably something less sweet
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of hot sauce
  • salt & pepper

For the shrimp:

  • 24 extra-large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon ev olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 12 slices of prosciutto, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • lime wedges

Make the barbecue sauce:

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over moderate heat.  Add the onion and rosemary.

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Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to turn brown.  Add the garlic and cook about 5 minutes, until softened.

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Stir in the remaining barbecue sauce ingredients.

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Season with s & p.  Puree the mixture in the food processor until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl.

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For the shrimp:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the shrimp with the olive oil and s & p.

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Wrap each shrimp in a half slice of prosciutto…

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and place on a rimmed baking sheet, about one inch apart.

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Brush the shrimp with the barbecue sauce.

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Roast the shrimp for 5 minutes.  Turn the shrimp over, brush them again with barbecue sauce and roast for 5 minutes longer.IMG_5314

You’ll know the shrimp are cooked when they are white and firm and the barbecue sauce is shiny.

Transfer the shrimp to a plate and sprinkle with the parsley.  Serve with lime wedges and extra sauce for dipping.

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Make ahead:  The barbecue sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  The wrapped shrimp can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours before roasting.

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Shopping for locals:  If you live in the San Diego area, I thought I’d add where I bought some of my ingredients for this post.  The shrimp and prosciutto were purchased from my local Whole Foods.  The fish mongers at Whole Foods are so kind and helpful, mine shelled and cleaned the shrimp for me.  All of the produce for this post was purchased at Specialty Produce. SP is by far my favorite place to get wonderful produce in San Diego, be sure to check out their Farmers Market fridge.  I used Maker’s Mark for the bourbon, remember to always use something you would actually drink in your recipes, if you wouldn’t drink that bourbon, don’t cook with it (same goes for wine).

This recipe was a huge success!

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Ben loved every bite!  And, seeing as he was the only one eating this batch, that was a lot!  I will definitely make this recipe again.  It will be the perfect recipe for a holiday cocktail party.

An unexpected, maybe even unwelcome, recipe that turned out gorgeous!  Be sure to tag or hashtag #theincidentalspoon if you post any pictures of your Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce!  I want to see them!

Until next week (or maybe sooner!),

Buckets of Merriment & Cheers!