Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spring Minestrone (actually Minestrone seems to be seasonless)

It is freakin' cold around here.  It got all the way up to 4C today (that's about 40F for you non-metric types).  And the wind is bitter.  April in the Maritimes is my least favorite time of year.  After a chilly run to the market and Dave's Veggie and Fruit store I wanted to put on a heart warming soup.  At the market the greens are making their seasonal reappearance (can I get an 'amen'?!?)  I picked up spinach, swiss chard, tatsoi which I have no idea what it tastes like but thought I'd give 'er a go.... basil, dill, cilantro, radish greens and arugula.  Yeah, you can get these things in many grocery stores year round but these are from the local farmers and I love to support our local folks.  ps. everything tastes better too ; )  So what kind of soup was I going to put together?  It feels like Minestrone.  I know I blogged about one not that long ago (back in January) but this is my own recipe and incorporates some of my market finds from this morning (the greens and herbs) and some from last week (the carrots and the turnip)

Spring Minestrone
Serves 8 - 10

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 11 ounces diced chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/4 (about 1 cup) diced turnip into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 14 ounce can of tomatoes, diced, no salt added
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 19 ounce can of white kidney beans, no salt added
  • 5 cups of swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat
  2. Saute the onion and celery until soft
  3. Add in the chicken and brown
  4. Add the turnip and carrots and saute for 5 minutes
  5. Toss in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds
  6. Add in the wine and scrap the brown bits off the bottom of the pan
  7. Add in the tomatoes, water, thyme and sage.
  8. Simmer until the turnip and carrots are tender (about 10-15 minutes)
  9. Make sure the soup is boiling, add in the pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes
  10. Add in the white kidney beans, swiss chard, spinach, basil and red wine vinegar, simmer until the greens are bright and tender (just a couple of minutes)
  11. Taste!  Add salt and pepper as necessary.
  12. Serve with a good sprinkle of parmesan

This soup freezes okay but you may have to add more water/chicken broth after you defrost it as the pasta keeps absorbing liquid.  I have frozen it in the past and it tastes great.

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