Saturday, September 1, 2012

Leek, Chard, and Potato Soup with Prosciutto di San Daniele Shards

There is a festival in honour of Prosciutto di San Daniele called Aria di Festa annually in June at San Daniele, Italy.  At Aria di Festa, there are tastings of the ham, culinary courses, and tours of the factory.  The website dedicated to Prosciutto di San Daniele has this to say about the region and how it flavours the ham: 

 "A vital element is the good air that prevails here, where the winds that descend from the Carnic Alps meet those coming from the Adriatic, carrying resinous scents which mix with brackish aromas in an environment where humidity and temperature are regulated by the morainic land and the waters of the Tagliamento, one of the last European rivers to preserve its original course. One could be forgiven for thinking that the secret is now unveiled, captured in a technical term - the microclimate - but to understand Prosciutto di San Daniele, we must go deeper into the consciousness of the place and the identity of its people, who have always played their part in ensuring that authentic Prosciutto di San Daniele arrives on our tables. "

I not only have come to appreciate the differing qualities of Prosciutto doing these blogs about Prosciutto di San Daniele, I have also learned once and for all (hopefully) how to spell it correctly.  Wonder how long that will stick.  Anyway, onward to soup!

Ingredient List:

3 oz. thinly sliced Prosciutto di San Daniele
1 bunch chard
2 lrg. leeks
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 lrg. potatoes
2 celery stalks
1 c. water
1/2 c. half and half
1 Bouquet Garni
2 c. chicken stock
1 clove garlic, minced
 Juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper

Blanch the chard.  Place in refrigerator.


Clean the leeks and celery and roughly chop them into medium size.  Sweat the leeks and celery with the olive oil in a large pot and add the garlic.


Peel the potatoes and roughly chop to medium size.  Add the potatoes to the pot, along with chicken stock, water and the  Bouquet Garni.  Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove the Bouquet Garni and make the ingredients smooth with a hand blender.


                    Get two baking sheets and line one with parchment paper.  Lay the Prosciutto di San Daniele on the paper.  Next, lay another piece of parchment paper over the top, then top that with another baking sheet.  Place in a 400 deg. oven and top with a weight, something heavy and oven safe (like a cast iron pot lid).   Cook this way for 15 minutes, or until crispy.  You can do this ahead and have it waiting, or while the soup cooks.


When the Prosciutto di San Daniele cools break into crumbles, but save larger shards to garnish the final product (about 4 to 6 servings).

To finish the soup fold in the lemon juice, half and half, then the crumbles and chard.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Heat through and serve.

There you have it, so get stuck in.   Buon appetito! 



"I live on good soup, not on fine words."-Moliere


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