When we are up at the cabin, one of the guaranteed meals from Grandma Cathy will be one of her delicious and awesome soups. She has a billion of them. They're so convenient for cabin-times... Cath makes a whole boatload when the harvest comes in during the fall, and then freezes them. Then, when a big group is up, she warms it up in the crockpot for a few hours, and the delicious smells waft throughout the cabin, drawing us to lunch time... or dinner time...
So, because soups are such a wonderful winter meal - and because Cath is kind of a soup person and has made a bajillion of them - we're going to spend some time with soup. Michele and I have something special lined up for a particular tomato soup series (cause you can never know too many tomato soup recipes), and the hubby Andy has something in mind for a chowder... the options are endless.
But today is about this lovely Winter Minestrone soup. Mom has so many great soups, but this was one of my favs, loaded with goodies from The Cabin Garden. Bonus: it's healthy! This soup was inspired by none other than fancy lady Giada De Laurentiis' version. She is so lovely, and pretty, and based on what I've seen, I'm pretty sure that woman never sweats. Or farts. Or struggles with anything at all. Amiright? But she can cook! (Or is it AND she can cook?)
Not that this soup requires any sweating. It's one of those 'use what you've got' recipes - which are really the only ones I tend to use because - as I've said before - grocery trips are very low on my list. :) But we made this Cabin Garden style by using our homemade chicken broth and stewed tomatoes from the garden instead of the canned diced tomatoes, along with a few other small variations.
So if you've got a few of these staples on hand - in your freezer from the garden - or if, unlike me, you actually go to the grocery store and plan ahead on such things - this is a delicious one to try because it's so simple, super healthy, and full of yummy flavor.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 ounces pancetta, coarsely chopped (optional; we've done it with and without pancetta...)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 potato, peeled, cubed
- 1 jar stewed tomatoes that we canned this fall; but this is to taste. Use more if you want! Or, you can use 1 14-oz of diced tomatoes.
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 14 ounces of homemade broth - we used chicken broth. Or, you can of course use broth from 1 can.
- 1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- If you want, you can add in some Swiss Chard (which is what Giada's recipe calls for), but you could add some spinach or other green if you don't have Swiss Chard on hand. Why not, right?
- Saute onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic for about 10 minutes. Add the green, if you're using it, and potato and continue to saute. Finally, add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down.
- Giada's recipe calls for blending the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth; but we decided not to. It will be creamier if you blend the beans. Up to you! Add the beans, remaining broth and the rind into the vegetable mixer and simmer until the potatoes are tender - about 15 minutes. Add in the parsley, and keep simmering until everything is heated through. Season with S/P to taste.
- Finally, just discard the sprig of rosemary and the parmesan rind... and you are set to go!