Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Ahead Vegetable and Bean Soup

This soup straddles two seasons. The addition of the turnip is so reminiscent of winter, and the summer squash and zucchini anticipates the flavors of the spring and summer months. It's really a minestrone, prepared with a chicken stock following my recycled chicken soup recipe. I used a chicken carcass that didn't have much meat left on it, but I knew I could get a tasty broth out of what remained. With the addition of yellow turnip to the chicken soup preparation, and then beans and a few more veggies, the result was a nice rich minestrone.

Follow the instructions here to make your chicken stock. I added 1/2 of a yellow turnip, or rutabaga (cut into two pieces). When you remove the carrots and celery leave the turnip in to cook for the duration. It adds great flavor. Remove it at the end and dice into 1/4 inch cubes which you can add back to the soup, with the carrots and celery, once you've strained it. NOTE: I didn't have much meat on the chicken carcass so I just strained the soup and added the veggies back into the broth. I made this on Friday and put the chicken soup in the fridge until today. Like most things I think it tastes better if it sits for a while, and it only took a short time to finish it off today.

Final steps: Warm the chicken soup over medium heat. Add a 12 oz can of diced tomatoes and one can of organic kidney beans. Allow to simmer for 1/2 hour.  Quarter one small zucchini and one summer squash lengthwise. Cut into 1/4 cubes. Saute them in olive oil until softened, then add them to your soup. Cook for another 15 minutes. Add 1/2 bag of baby spinach and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Serve your soup with a sprinkle of your favorite grated cheese. You can also add a little bit of pasta cooked al dente. Always keep the pasta separate from the soup until you're ready to serve. It will get overcooked and mushy if added to the pot, and it tastes so much better when added at the last minute. Enjoy!

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