I love this idea! Vanessa over at Southern In My Heart has put together a soup exchange for Sister Saturday. Of course I was all over it since I love mah soup!
I had a hard time picking which soup recipe I wanted to share since I have TONS! I chose this recipe from one of my new favorite cookbooks called Mother's Best.
The author, Lisa Schroeder, opened Mother's Bistro & Bar in Portland, Oregon out of the desire to preserve home cooking from mother's around the world. Her bistro is wonderful! I went there for my birthday and absolutely fell in love. All of her food is the healthy homemade comfort food you would expect on your mom or grandmother's table. I loved reading about how she built her restaurant from the ground up, she is a very inspiring person.
One of the neatest things she does is feature a "Mom of the Month" or "M.O.M," who collaborates with Lisa to create a special menu with some of the best dishes from the "Mom of the Month." They cook them together so Lisa learns firsthand how to make the "Mom of the Month's" dishes...for me this would be an HONOR!!
I decided to go with the healthy and hearty "Mama's Minestrone" for the soup exchange. Don't be scared off by the long recipe, it is loaded with healthy & quality ingredients that make a big ol soup pot full of yummy goodness that will last for a few days and make for some great leftovers!
For the beans:
1/4 lb dry white beans, rinsed, soaked and drained
1 small yellow onion quartered
1 small carrot peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small rib of celery coarsely chopped
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, 3 sprigs italian parsley, tied together with string)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
For the soup:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions diced, about 2 cups
1 large carrot peeled and diced, about 3/4 cup
1 large rib of celery diced, about 1/2 cup
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 med zucchini's, diced, about 2 cups
1 cup shredded savoy cabbage
1/4 lb green beans, sliced into 1 inch pieces, about 1 cup
1/4 lb red potatoes, diced, about 2 cups
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes (recipe calls for whole plum but I just use crushed)
8 cups of vegetable stock or low sodium chicken broth (I short-cutted this with Knorr powdered chicken base. It is my secret weapon in the kitchen!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped italian parsley for garnish
Cooked elbow macaroni (al dente)
*Optional: 2 1/2 - 3 links of browned italian sausage
To prepare the beans:
Place the soaked beans into a pot and cover with cold water. Add the onions, carrots, celery and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then lower the heat to a simmer and continue to cook, covered, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Simmer for another 15 minutes.
Remove the onions, carrots, celery and bouquet garni and discard. Drain the beans through a strainer set over a bowl, reserving the liquid (You can make the beans several days ahead; refrigerate the cooking liquid and beans separately.)
Using an immersion blender, food processor, blender or food mill, puree one third of the beans (you will need some of the bean liquid to get the beans to move around) and set aside.
To make the soup:
While the beans are cooking, heat a heavy, wide stockpot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil and onions and saute, stirring now and then until soft, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium if the onions start to brown (the onions should be evenly golden, not brown, or they will be bitter and add dark spots to the soup.) Add the carrots and celery and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, another 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute (don't let it brown).
Add the zucchini, stir to combine, and saute for a few minutes. Add the cabbage, stir, and cook for a few minutes until wilted. Add the green beans, potatoes, tomatoes and stock, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat and simmer, covered for one hour checking it every now and then to stir.
After the soup has simmered, stir in the bean puree and whole cooked beans. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes to meld the flavors. If necessary thin the soup with reserved bean liquid.
**You also have the option of adding the browned Italian sausage to the soup which I did and LOVED! I used about 2 1/2 links.
Just before serving place some cooked macaroni into the bottom of your serving bowl (adding the pasta to the bowl instead of the soup pot keeps it from getting too mushy). Ladle the soup over the pasta and sprinkle each serving with pecorino romano cheese (or just parmesan) and Italian parsley and serve with a loaf of crispy french or Italian bread.
I have made this soup with and without the Italian sausage and prefer it with the sausage as it adds a lot more flavor and heartiness. I hope you get a chance to try it or at least read Lisa's book! She has tons of great recipes in there!
Mmmm! Doesn't this look delish!!...
I know what I am making for Sunday dinner!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend...