hearty italian bean soup (vegetarian)

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anyone else having a tough time this january?  it’s cold here, but not much snow.  just dreary and gray.

well, sometimes a hearty italian soup can be just the remedy, especially when served with a lovely glass of chilled, refreshing pinot grigio.

this soup is a take on an italian classic ~ i’m convinced the italians weather their mild winters beautifully because they eat this soup.  but, i’m also convinced there is no winter in italy.  i know tuscany gets snow, but the italians do everything so well ~ i’m sure they never have seasonal effective disorder, or the blues, or anything like that.

ahem ~ me neither.  who me?  never.

i started with a basic recipe and super charged it.  no meat.  just lots of veggies and savory, gorgeous broth.  the hub and i are diving into the leftovers tonight!

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hearty italian bean stew

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

ingredients

  • 1 cup dried great northern beans
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced finely
  • 3-4 carrots, diced into small chunks
  • ½ head green cabbage, chopped
  • olive oil
  • one box of veggie stock
  • tomato paste
  • white wine
  • dried herbs like thyme, sage, oregano, bay leaves, fennel seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh kale, cut into smallish pieces (i used lacinato kale, aka black kale)
  • parmesan cheese

directions

first, rinse your dried beans and throw them into a dutch oven or stock pot.  fill with cold water, about an inch over the beans.  bring them to a boil and get it to a really rolling boil, then turn off the heat.  cover and let sit for an hour.

while the beans are softening, go do something productive.  like binge watching project runway.  

(you can also just soak your beans overnight.  but i never remember to do such things.)

after your hour is up, pour the beans into a strainer and let them hang out there while you’re making your soup.  wash and dry your dutch oven, cuz you’re gonna use it again!

in your freshly cleaned pot, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  drop in your chopped onion and let them start to sweat.  then add your garlic, carrots (if you can do a small dice on those, they really sweeten up the soup), and the cabbage.  i’m sure potatoes or parsnips would be heavenly in this dish.  add the veggies you like.

season with salt and pepper as you go.  a little with the onions, a little more with the rest of the veggies, and so on.

let those veggies start to soften and give off some pretty wonderful odors.  maybe 5-10 minutes?  you’ll be able to tell.

add a cup of white wine and let it cook out and deglaze the bottom of the pot.  add 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste, a box of veggie stock, and more water if you need.  if you want to add even more flavor, throw in some “better than bouillon” concentrated stock.

add your herbs ~ thyme, sage, oregano, bay leaves, and fennel seeds (which will give you the taste of an italian sausage flavor in there, without the italian sausage).

if you’re a parmesan nut like me, i cut up the rinds, or the ends of the blocks of parm i buy, and freeze them.  then i drop them into the stew and they either disintegrate, or i fish them out at the end with the bay leaves.  

cover the soup and let simmer on medium heat for about 1 ½ hours.  more binge watching.

stir and check the softness of the beans every half hour or so.  everyone likes the consistency of their beans differently, so cook it to your liking.  if your soup gets too thick, add more water or stock.

add your chopped kale in the last 10 minutes (add as much as you’d like ~ it’s so hearty and healthy!) and season to taste with salt and pepper.

serve with a light drizzle of olive oil on top, and freshly grated parm.

and then call me and invite me over for lunch.

 

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