Magic Minestrone Soup

Hopefully you had a wonderful, relaxing holiday and are still enjoying food, family and quiet time (while I brave the roads yet again to see more family). I thought I would share one of my current favourite recipes with you today in case you are already bored with leftovers and looking for something healthy to make for dinner.

This recipe is magical because you can make it using whatever is in your fridge and it will warm your soul with goodness. Seriously.

The only thing to remember, however, is that this is not a 30 minute meal. This is a sit on the stove (or slow cooker) all day, gently simmering and making the house smell great. The time is what does it.

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To start I chop one or two onions (depending on the size). The dribble some oil into a large pot, turn the heat on medium and toss in the onion. As it cooks I peel/wash and chop some carrots, celery, potato and either beans or zucchini (but you can really choose whatever veg you want). Once the onion is starting to brown I throw in the rest of the vegetables and give it a stir. I leave everything for a couple of minutes to soften. Then I add two bay leaves and a handful of greens. I pour in two jars of tomatoes and their juice (if using whole canned tomatoes just run a butter knife through them either in the can or pot, but they will break down, so don’t worry too much). I add broth (usually chicken, but vegetable broth is great too). Depending on what kind of broth you use you may want to add salt. I always add in a generous pinch. I throw in white beans, but again, you can use whatever you have or want, as long as it isn’t overpowering. Put a lid on the pot and bring it to a gentle boil for about 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to low. Leave it for as long as you can (I usually leave it about 5 hours).

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About half an hour before we are eating I add is some pasta or Isreali couscous. If you plan to have to soup for leftovers or to freeze I would cook the pasta separately and then add it to your bowl, otherwise it will continue to thicken your soup and suck up all the liquid.

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Before serving remove the bay leaves (it may take a while to find them), serve and then sprinkle parmasan on top.

This soup is great with a good crusty bread, or biscuits, but can stand on its own also. Perfect for a cold, wintery day.

Minestrone Soup

We are in the middle of installing flooring for our whole upstairs. It is not an easy job. I made this soup because it only took a few minutes in the morning, then I left it simmering all day so that we would could have something delicious, warm and wonderful after a hard day’s work. This is a really good soup. It’s a cozy, cold weather, sitting on the stove all day type of soup.

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Start by chopping up two onions, three carrots, three ribs of celery and about half a large butternut squash. If you want to use meat you can use sausage, pancetta or bacon (I used thick cut prosciutto, because that’s what we had). Cut up the meat into small chunks and fry it in the bottom of a large pot. Then add the onions. Once everything is brown add in about 2 cups of wine (I used red, again because it was already there, but use whatever kind you like). Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add in a carton of broth and the rest of the vegetables. Add some salt, pepper and a little chili powder (if you feel like it). Add in a can of crushed tomatoes. Leave everything to simmer.

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Once the vegetables start getting soft add in white beans (I used Great Northern). I used about a cup I think. Tear up some kale and add it in. Turn the heat down to low. If it gets too thick, add more broth or water. It’s really good thick, though. A little before you are ready to eat, boil some pasta, anything small will work. To serve, put a few spoonfuls of pasta in a bowl, ladle in the soup and then put a little sprinkle of parmesan on top. Serve with crusty bread.

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