Let’s assume that if you’re reading our blog you’re a foodie, right? Which means that you don’t have a can of Kraft Parmesan cheese in the refrigerator and that you most likely have a wedge of Grana Padano, or another type of parmesan cheese, that you use on a regular basis. And if you don’t know the difference it’s time that you do a bit of homework on the world of cheeses and visit your nearest cheese shop, or at least go online and do some research. Cheese should never come in a can, and don’t get us started on Cheeze Whiz. If you have a can of that crap in your fridge you have some serious food hang-ups and there’s probably nothing we can do to help you. So stop reading and just leave, just kidding. But seriously, get up from your computer and get rid of that can of Cheeze Whiz now.
We purchase Grana Padano from Costco, and while it is a large wedge it also lasts us for months. The best way we have found to store it is in a plastic bag (we are looking for an alternative, but as of today, it’s the best solution), within a plastic box (again, looking for an alternative) in the fridge. The plastic box has become our cheese drawer. It allows moisture to remain at a minimum while also keeping the cheeses fresh, and since Grana Padano is in the hard cheese category you’ll want minimal moisture. We use the cheese with anything from pastas, soups, breads, sandwiches, and anything that parmesan cheese is used for you can use Grana Padano. It has a nutty, sharp flavor that intensifies any dish.
When we get down to the rinds, something most people would just throw away, we freeze them and use them for soup stock. The flavor is so intense and wonderful and the soup is so rich that all you need is a small cup to be satisfied, although you’ll be tempted to eat a large bowl. The cost of the soup is also so economical that it literally costs less than a can of Campbell’s soup to make. If you have a pressure cooker it will take very little time to create. If you don’t have one you can use canned beans or soak dried beans overnight but it will take a lot more time, and the flavors won’t be the same.
Cheese Rind Soup Recipe
2 cups dried Navy beans (picked over for small stones)
2 bay leaves
Sage & Thyme bundle
2-3 garlic cloves
½ – 1 pound Grana Padano cheese rinds (or other hard cheese rinds)
1 pound Kale, Chard, Spinach, or other leafy greens
Add the dried navy beans, garlic, bay leaves, sage and thyme to the pressure cooker, with about six cups water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 12-15 minutes. The beans will not be fully cooked. Reduce pressure and add the cheese rinds. Bring back to a boil and pressure cook for another 10-15 minutes. Reduce pressure again and remove the cheese rinds. The rinds will be hot so take caution when removing. Chop the rinds into small pieces and add them back to the soup. Add the greens and bring to boil and then pressure cook again for about 5-7 minutes. The cheese should mostly be melted but there may be small pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste. The cheese will already add a lot of salt so take caution not to add too much. Make sure to stir after each reduction of the pressure to assure that the cheese does not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
Serve with a drizzle of good quality extra-virgin olive oil. You can also add croutons or serve with crackers. For a spicy kick add your favorite Tabasco or hot sauce.