Thursday, January 15, 2009

St. Anthony the Abbot

This coming Saturday, January 17th, is the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot, also known as St. Anthony of Egypt, St. Anthony the Great, and the "Father of Monks."

In Catholic Traditions In The Home And Classroom, author Ann Ball mentions that "legend reports that he had to endure severe temptations and that the devil often appeared to him in the form of a pig. Thus, pork is the traditional fare of the dinner on St. Anthony's feast day."

Cooking With the Saints offers a recipe for Olla De San Anton (St. Anthony's Stew) which they say is very popular over in Spain, and attempts "to use as much as possible of the fresh pork." Even though the author has updated the recipe by "eliminating some of the more exotic pork cuts, such as ear or tail" it still contains pork belly and blood sausage, therefore you won't catch me making it. Personally I would be much more inclined to make Rachel Ray's Roasted Pork Tenderloin or Pork Skewers with Pineapple-Scallion Rice.

Another option would be to prepare some Monastic Soup or any other recipe From a Monastery Kitchen since St. Anthony was known as the "Father of Monks." Here is a simple recipe in honor of St. Anthony from the aforementioned book.

St. Antony of the Desert Soup


3 tablespoons oil of choice
1 cup barley
1 carrot, finely grated
2 leeks, sliced
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
salt to taste
7 cups water
1 bouillon cube, if desired
chopped mushrooms, if desired


1. Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the barley, stirring continuously for one minute. Immediately add the carrot, leeks, bay leaf, parsley, salt, and water.

2. Cook the soup over low to medium heat, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes, until the barley is tender. Add more water if needed. For extra taste, add the bouillon and the mushrooms during the last 20 minutes of simmering. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot.

Serves: 4
Prep Time:1 hour, 30 minutes

Saint Anthony, you spoke of the importance of persevering in our faith and our practice. Help us to wake up each day with new zeal for the Christian life and a desire to take the next challenge instead of just sitting still. Amen.

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