Roman lardo soup

Preparation time
overnight

Cooking time
over 2 hours

Serves
Serves 2

By Matt Tebbutt

Ingredients

For the beans

  • 200g/7oz cured, salted and cubed lardo
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 200g/7oz dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 shallot, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 stick celery, cut in half
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 small fennel bulb, cut in half
  • sprig rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves

For the soup

  • 30g/1oz soft lard, or the dripping from a roast pork dish
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 100ml/3½fl oz strong chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • 1 slice stale sourdough bread, cut into cubes
  • 100g/3½oz Parmesan cheese
  • 3 wafer-thin slices lardo
  • fennel tops, finely chopped

Method

  1. To cook the beans, put a large pan on a medium heat and sweat the lardo and garlic for 5 minutes, until the lardo is crispy and the fat has rendered out.

  2. Add the beans, vegetables and herbs and cover with water. Cook gently for 1–2 hours, or until the beans are soft.

  3. To make the soup, heat the soft lard in another large pan over a low heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and leek and cook for 20 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the chicken stock and a ladle of the beans and cooking liquor and cook for a further 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

  4. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with the cubes of bread, a piece of wafer-thin lardo, and sprinkle over the Parmesan and fennel tops.