Friday, August 3, 2012

Slovenian Dinner Week 22: Mineštra, Not Just for Italians!

Mineštra (Slovenian Minestrone)
French bread

I hadn't paid much attention to  the recipe for mineštra in Treasured Slovenian and International Recipes, my never-fail vintage cookbook from the  Progressive Slovene Women of America.

The recipe seemed too familiar.  Too Italian, maybe.

When  I woke up Tuesday morning, I didn't feel like getting out of bed, much less cooking. I could feel a cold coming on.   And Sauce Piquante, my Cajun band, was supposed to practice at our house that night.

Suddenly that Slovenian minestrone seemed like a perfect choice.   Easy comfort food.  And I had almost everything on hand.  So why not?

I made a few changes in the recipe from that 1950s cookbook.   As usual,  I used olive oil instead of lard or drippings. I was a little more generous with the vegetables.  As a short cut, I used canned beans instead of cooking them from scratch.  At least they were those genuine, hard-to-find Roman beans.  Instead of canned peas, I used frozen.

The recipe called for smoked sausages or chopped ham.  I used smoked chicken apple sausages from the butcher shop around the corner.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
½ head cabbage (part green, part red) sliced
2 smoked chicken apple sausages, sliced
1 can Roman beans (borlotti beans)
1 c. baby carrots
1 medium potato
¼ c. fresh parsley
cherry tomatoes, equal to 2 regular
2 stalks celery
2 quarts water
1 c. frozen peas
¼ c. rice
salt and pepper to taste

Brown onion and garlic in oil.  Add cabbage and sausage and let brown.  Add remaining ingredients except for peas and rice.  Cover and simmer.  Adjust seasonings.  When vegetables are almost tender, add rice, cover,  and simmer for 15 minutes more.  Add peas and simmer for 5 more minutes.

It was comforting to see that nice pot of soup bubbling away on the stove!

When it was time to eat, we sprinkled the soup with freshly grated parmesan cheese and had some coleslaw and bread alongside.

The verdict?  Delicious and comforting.  I even felt revived enough to play the Cajun accordion!

The one change I would make next time:  A spicier sausage.   The chicken-apple was a healthy choice, but a little mild for our taste.  Next time, I'll use Italian or Polish sausage. Unless, of course, I have some authentic Slovenian klobase handy!

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