Minestrone Provencale

My, we do get confused about things, don’t we?

In the first half of the twentieth century, Americans knew two types of cooking: “ours” and “foreign.” I mean, nobody thought it was odd that a company named Franco-American was selling canned pasta. There wasn’t that much attention to regional detail in most cases, is the point. So here we have Minestrone (an Italian soup with a history that predates even the Roman chef Marcus Apicius) Provencale (French for “in the style of the region of Provence in Southeastern France, which is most assuredly not in Italy, not even a little bit, and actually is rather filled with gauls who probably didn’t read a ton of Latin.” Well, something like that).

Mmm, okay. Well, I’ll say this in defense of minestrone provencale; Provence actually has a food profile quite a bit like Italy in some ways, with tomatoes, mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, onions, and anchovies all on the table. So while minestrone may be Italian, I’m sure they ate something like it in Provence at times.

Then again, I’m sure a chef in Beijing once served his duck with mandarin oranges, but that doesn’t make it duck a l’orange.

From a box sold in Canby, Oregon.

Minestrone Provencale

Chop 4 slices leanish bacon into pieces about 1/4 inch square and fry them to bring out the grease. Add 2 tablespoons butter. Chop 1 large onion, 1 large carrot, 1 rather small turnip, and the white part of 2 leeks, put them in the pot, and stew them in the fat over a low flame until the first light trace of brown appears.

Now add

  • 1/4 small cabbage, cut up,
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled,
  • 1 teaspoon sweet basil,
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram,
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley,
  • 1 quart white or chicken stock and
  • salt with discretion.

You may at this point add 1 clove of garlic, crushed, if you wish. Simmer for 1/2 hour, add 1/2 cup green peas and 1/2 cup chopped carrot leaves, 1/2 cups celery and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. Season salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

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