Sunday, 26 July 2009

Parmesan Rind Soup

Sounds odd but is in fact a really useful culinary trick to know.

Once my block of fresh Parmesan has been grated down to the rind I squirrel it away in a bag at the back of the fridge. Whenever I next make soup I just chuck one in and let it simmer away. It doesn't appear in the finished dish, you fish it out before serving as it has already done it's job. Parmesan is rich in natural MSG which gives it that big umami hit, the MSG leeches out of the rind and into the soup to give it deep, rich, savoury taste.

It's so simple even a husband can manage it! Last night Adam made ham and lentil soup for us. He fried chopped onion, garlic and a red pepper til softened, added a tin of chopped tomatoes, a large handful of lentils and a generous splosh of gammon stock (basically just the water I'd boiled a gammon joint in the day before). He threw in two Parmesan rinds and let it simmer til the lentils were soft, adding more stock if it looked like drying out. He then took out the Parmesan and pureed the soup before adding diced gammon and re-heating it.

We ate it with crusty bread and it was lovely with big, deep, robust flavours. It didn't need seasoning at all as both the stock and cheese rinds are quite salty anyway. Next time I may add in some chilli or smoked paprika just to lift it a little.

Adam's getting quite good at this cookery lark, maybe I can let him loose in the kitchen a bit more often ....

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