You can’t get blood from a stone but apparently in Portugal you can get soup!The legend surrounding the recipe for Stone Soup (Sopa de pedra) has been passed down for generations. It made me smile so I thought I would share the story.
Many many years ago in the Ribatejo area of Portugal a hungry friar knocked on the door of a rich farmer and asked for some food. The farmer told him he could not spare any food as he was also hungry and to go away! The friar then took a stone from his sack and told the farmer he could make a delicious soup from the stone which they could share – all he needed was a large pan of water and a fire. The farmer duly obliged intrigued by this “miracle” soup.
The friar added the stone, boiled for several minutes and then dramatically tasted the “soup”. He had noticed a large piece of smoked bacon hanging from the fireplace, so asked the farmer for a small piece of bacon to add more flavor to the soup. Intrigued, the farmer agreed and gave the friar a slice of bacon. The friar boiled the soup for a few more minutes, tasted it, paused and then told the farmer that the soup tasted good but a piece of sausage and a carrot would really make it delicious. The friar continued to dupe the farmer in this manner until he had all the ingredients he needed to make a delicious soup.
After eating the soup the friar removed the stone and put it back in his bag.
1 smooth round stone
1 large slice smoked streaky bacon
2 finely sliced carrots
1 large finely diced potato
1 chopped onion
½ shredded cabbage
3½ oz precooked brown beans
1 pork sausage
1 pig’s trotter
1 hog’s ear
2 pints of water
Place stone in a large pan, add water and bring to the boil and “taste”.
Add the onion, tomato, slice of smoked bacon, pig’s trotter, pig’s ear and sausage and cook until meat is cooked.
Set aside a few tablespoons of stock; purée half the brown beans and mix with the stock and add to pan.
Add remaining vegetables and beans and simmer until tender.
Remove the meats and sausage, cut into small pieces and add to soup bowls. Pour remaining soup over meat and serve.
If you have read down to this point I bet you are wondering did Piglet really cook this soup. No, I have to confess I was more intrigued by the legend and not the gastronomic “experience” of the soup itself. I feel sure (she says unconvincingly) that the soup is absolutely delicious but trotters and hog’s ears are just a little too “rustic” for me. Could you eat them?
Please share your favourite recipe…