Sunday, January 12, 2014

Minestrone Soup

"There was a Young Lady of Poole, 
Whose soup was excessively cool;
So she put it to boil, 
by the aid of some oil, 
That ingenious Young Lady of Poole."

Edward Lear, English artist, 
writer; known for his 'literary nonsense' & limericks (1812-1888)

Minestrone Soup
Cook's notes: Minestrone is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables , often with the addition of pasta or rice. Some common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock and tomatoes.

The beauty of this soup is there no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian using a vegetarian broth  or contain meat with a meat-based broth such as chicken stock. Simmer on low 4-5 hours in a crockpot. The soup tastes even better the next day. 

This soup makes a good addition for a Super Bowl gathering. Serve it with bread sticks or corn bread.  Serves 8
Minestrone Soup
  • ½ cup diced carrots and ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (tested using coleslaw mix)
  • 2 cups tomato juice or V8 juice
  • 2-½ cups water
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) chunky tomatoes (basil, onion, oregano)
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 can light red kidney or northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small package frozen Italian style green beans (not thawed) or 1 cup fresh green beans 
  • ½ lb. cooked Italian sweet sausage, drained and crumbled into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups dried pasta shells
  • 1/4 tsp. sage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. each thyme, oregano, basil and parsley
  • torn spinach leaves
  • In oven brown sausage @ 350 while making the soup, drain, crumble and place on a paper towel 
  • Add olive oil to a large Dutch oven or soup pot, sauté celery, onion, garlic and carrots till onion is tender but not brown
  • Stir in rest of ingredients except spinach leaves 
  • Bring to a boil from a low-medium heat, cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours 
  • If using a crockpot cook on high one hour and reduce to low for 3 hours 
  • Add in torn spinach leaves last 20 minutes of cooking time
  • Optional adding 1/8 cup -1/4 cup red wine at end of cooking time 
  • Remove bay leaf before serving, top with grated Parmesan cheese
I came across this humorous quote...
"Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don't catch steak hanging around when you're poor and sick, do you?"
Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

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