Soup for you!
Many people tend to rely on soups as “winter warmers”, bowls of goodness to combat the chills and snow from October through March. And while I cannot deny the delicious creaminess of butternut squash soup or a hearty corn chowder, the spring and summer are when my soup making abilities come out.
This may be, in part, due to my chronic WSS, along with the fact that I much prefer to eat ice cream during a blizzard. But I believe it is more than that. My favorite soups are ones with bulk: vegetables and beans and grains, a soup made so hearty it is more of a stew than a broth. And what better time of year to throw handfuls of farmer’s market fresh vegetables into a pot than when they are at their peak? Served along with some crusty french bread and a selection of cheeses, summer soup may be one of the best meals around.
I really fell in love with these vegetable soups through Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Minestrone Soup. Jamie Oliver (Z, close your eyes!) is my long time celebrity crush, ever since I was a freshman in high school and the Naked Chef hit bookstores. Yes, my love for him has lasted more than 10 years 🙂 (P.S. Now I feel old!) Not only does he have a cute mug, but his recipes are divine. Now America is caught up with him, with the success of Food Revolution. But enough about Mr. Oliver — his soup is amazing. I used to ask my Mom to buy everything for the recipe multiple times ever summer; vegetables would cover our entire kitchen counter, only to be brewed into the most lovely medley of flavors. Since then I realized that you can throw almost any combination of vegetables into a pot and out comes a lovely soup. So here is one of my own:
White Bean, Tomato and Kale Soup
1 onion, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 can of cannelini beans, drained
5 or 6 kale leaves, finely chopped
2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
Basil, oregano, salt and pepper
In a pot, saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft.
Add the tomatoes and beans and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the kale, season with herbs, salt and pepper, and simmer with the cover on for 5 – 10 minutes, then the cover off for 5 more.
Serve with french bread or toast.
This soup is so quick and delicious that I made it before work one morning, put the pot in the fridge, and re-heated it when I got home. The more times you heat it, the more the flavors deepen and develop. I love eating something fresh and not from the can, and it makes such a large amount it is cheaper in the long run. My favorite thing is to make a big pot of soup on Sunday and eat it for lunch and snacks throughout the week. Hearty, flavorful, the perfect, simple meal.
What is your favorite type of soup?