Since writing about pappa al pomodoro a while back, I've been keen on it as an excellent way to eat up otherwise obdurate heels of homemade bread. It's also well-suited to a brainlessly quick and easy lunch, and highly tweakable. In the case of yesterday's lunch, it benefited from the homemade prosciutto and smoked chicken stock, two items which I venture to say come awfully close to being essentials.
So I sizzled minced ham, garlic, onion, and some herbs for a minute, deglazing with random red wine, then adding tomato purée and stock. While it simmered, I cubed and browned the bread along with salt, smoked paprika, pepper, and some rosemary from the big plant that I just moved outside into the herb garden along with all of its overwintered peers. Once brown and fragrant, I ladled soup into bowls and then added a healthy mound of croutons. It was a nice variant; apart from the smoky porkitude, the croutonic progress from crisp to soup-sodden was an enjoyable one to follow.
Not so different from the traditional way, though, at least not enough to deserve its own post. Where it got fun was in the using of the small amount of leftover tomato soup. Yesterday we went to a birthday party, and it ran late, so by the time we got home there was precious little time to get dinner made. And C had bought some country-style pork ribs, and had her heart set on my braising thereof. Enter the pressure cooker (that will SO be the title of my martial arts film debut). I browned the ribs, (dusted in flour, salt, and 5-spice) then added our very own carrots, the rest of the tomato soup, more smoked chicken stock, and minced onion before capping it and letting it his for 30 minutes. While it did, I pulled leftover quinoa and some whole-wheat couscous out of the fridge, combined them, added broccoli, scallion, ginger, and smoked stock, simmering it all together until the broccoli was tender. Then I mixed in rice vinegar, fish sauce, and a bit of sesame oil to finish. Served the former on the latter. Freaking fantastic. Rachael Ray can kiss my catchphrase-free ass.