BACON (LARD) AND VEGETABLE SOUP
Corsican cuisine, recipes and discovery of Corsican flavours
The most famous of all Corsican soups. A delight!
Depending on the season, we use the vegetables we have on hand: -potatoes, -onions, -carrots, -sticks, -celery, -zucchini, -green beans, -leeks, -wild dandelion, to which we add dried beans soaked the day before, pink or white, garlic, basil and nepita.
If the season does not allow you to have all these vegetables, use the ones you have, bearing in mind that potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, chard, celery, beans and nepita are essential.
Don’t use too many of the same vegetable if you have a lot, unless you need to feed a boarding school.
By simply adding a potato, a carrot, an onion, two chard leaves, a stalk of celery, some green beans, a small courgette, one or two cloves of garlic, a small handful of dried beans, a leek, you will already have a soup that you can serve to at least two people. And there will probably be some left.
Which doesn’t matter: you can eat it the next day, hot… or cold, as many Corsicans still do, before leaving at dawn for their fields or vineyards.
So, start by washing the vegetables you use, peel those that require it, and cut them into small pieces.
Put this macedoine in quite a lot of boiling salted water, the vegetables must soak a lot, and at the same time, of course, put the dried beans that you soaked the day before.
As soon as the water boils again, add a tablespoon of crushed bacon, or a slice of raw ham cut into pieces, or a slice of pork belly, smoked or not.
Leave to cook at a high temperature.
If you are making a soup for 5-6 people, or more, replace this meat with a raw ham bone with some meat still attached, the soup will be even better.
When the soup is well underway, reduce the heat and let it continue to cook on a medium heat, checking your pot from time to time.
When the vegetables start to crumble easily under the ladle, add a good tablespoon of olive oil and a handful of pasta, spaghetti or whatever.
Stir well, turn up the heat a little, and when the pasta is almost cooked, add a little pepper, a few finely chopped basil and nepita leaves and 2 cloves of crushed garlic.
When the pasta is fully cooked, the soup is made.
Of course, you may have added a little water during the cooking process if the mixture seemed too thick.
Some people say that the soup should be thick enough to hold a spoon upright. A matter of taste!
I prefer a much more watery and light soup.
A tablespoon of tomato coulis can be added during cooking, or a fresh tomato peeled and cut into pieces, or two or three of those dried half-tomatoes that Corsican women sometimes keep in jars.
Finally, let us say that this soup is often eaten by crushing a little Corsican goat’s or sheep’s cheese in it beforehand, the kind known as piquant cheese.