1 cup dried cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt
10 to 12 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 pounds beefshanks, sliced 3/4 to 1 inch thick
2 large onions, slivered
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 smoked ham hock (about 3/4 pound)
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, with their liquid, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 medium turnip, peeled and diced
2 cups chopped chard leaves
1/2 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
1 1/2 cups hot cooked rice
2 cups shredded cabbage
Salt to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese

Place the beans in a large bowl; add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups water. Cover and let stand for at least 8 hours; drain, discarding soaking liquid. Or to shorten the soaking period, place the beans in a 2- to 3-quart pan with 4 cups water (no salt); bring to a boil, then boil briskly, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain, discarding soaking liquid.
In a 7- to 8-quart kettle, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the beef shanks and brown on all sides. As you turn the shanks to brown the last side, add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are limp.
Add the carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, ham hock, tomatoes and their liquid, basil, drained, soaked beans, and 8 cups of the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer until the meats and beans are tender (3 1/2 to 4 hours). Skim and discard surface fat if necessary.
Remove the beef shanks and ham hock with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, discard bones and skin. Return beef and ham in large chunks to soup. (At this point, soup may be covered and refrigerated until ready to reheat and serve; skim fat from the surface before reheating).
Add the turnip to the soup and boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Mix in the chard and peas and cook for 3 minutes more. Blend in the rice and cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, just until cabbage is wilted and bright green (3 to 5 minutes). Taste and add salt if needed. Serve with Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over each serving.

3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 turnips, peeled and quartered
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 bunch scallions, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, stuck with 3 cloves
10 cups water
Pepper and salt to taste
1 green bell pepper
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon powdered saffron
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves or 1/4 cup fresh leaves

In a kettle, put the carrots, turnips, celery, scallions, and the onion stuck with cloves. Add the water, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour. Meanwhile, peel the green bell pepper as follows: Place your pepper directly over one of your gas burners until the skin cracks. Before this happens, it will actually turn black in certain places but don't let this concern you; the charring will impart a smoky flavor. To peel, place the pepper under running water and scrape off the charred portions with a knife. Remove the white seeds and dice the pepper. To peel the tomatoes, impale them on a fork and immerse them for a few seconds in boiling water, which will "pop" the skin and make them easy to peel. (Note: If you have an electric stove, rather than gas, use the same method to peel your green peppers. You'll get the desired result, but without the smoky flavor.)
In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion until golden brown. In a bowl, mix the contents of the skillet with the tomatoes, green bell pepper, garlic, beef, eggs, bread crumbs, saffron, chili powder and half the parsley and the mint leaves. Form small balls, about the size of marbles.
When the vegetable broth is done, drop the meatballs in the gently boiling broth. Let them rise to the surface and continue to cook for another 5 to 8 minutes (no longer, for it would tend to soften or disintegrate the meatballs). Discard the cloves. Add the rest of the parsley and serve.
Excerpted from The Secrets to Jesuit Soupmaking by Brother Rick Curry, S.J. (Viking Compass; 2002; $18.00;

Sweet fennel combined with salty, tangy feta cheese, olives, and capers, makes this a fragrant dish that holds up well—on a buffet table or in a covered dish held for fate stragglers to dinner.

1 medium-size fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks
1 medium-size red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound orzo
2 medium-size ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped brine-cured black olives, such as Kalamata
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon capers, drained
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine the fennel bulb, bell pepper, shallot, and garlic in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange in a shallow layer. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender, stirring once or twice for even cooking. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350°F. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well. Add the orzo and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the baking dish and toss to coat. Add the tomatoes, cheese, olives, parsley, capers, and 1 tablespoon of the chopped fennel leaves. Toss together. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

3/4 cup high-quality neutral-tasting chicken or vegetable broth
6 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry or rice wine
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 tsp sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced
16 ounces soy tempeh
2 to 3 heads Boston, butter, or romaine lettuce
1 bunch (8 to 12) scallions, thinly sliced lengthwise and cut into 3-inch lengths
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise and cut into 3-inch lengths
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sherry, oil, cornstarch, ginger, sugar, and garlic. Whisk to combine. Pour half the sauce into the baking dish. Cut the tempeh in half horizontally. Then cut each half into 1/2-wide strips. Arrange in a single layer in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce on top. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is mostly absorbed, turning once about halfway through. To serve, arrange the tempeh, lettuce, scallions and cucumber on a serving platter. Place a piece of tempeh in lettuce leaf, add a few pieces of scallion and cucumber, fold into a bite-size package and eat.
Excerpted from The Roasted Vegetable by Andrea Chesman (The Harvard Common Press; 2002; $12.95;