Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter Minestrone Soup

Ahhh....... the comfort of a big bowl of soup. I have had some family members sick and in the hospital lately and it got me thinking. One of the best gifts you can give someone is food. It can bring joy and comfort. Whether someone is sick, had a baby, or lost someone, everyone appreciates a meal prepared for them. This soup is a great recipe to have in your repertoire for gift giving. It is a hearty, delicious soup that's packed with good for you vegetables.  I have a secret weapon in this soup that really makes the flavor outstanding, Parmesan cheese rind.  If you have never bought Parmesan cheese before it is sold pre-grated in a bag or in a triangle shaped block. The large end of the triangle is called the rind. You can't eat it, but it makes a great flavor enhancer for soups. When you put it in, it will get goopy and kind of soggy but it will not dissolve. Remove it before serving and discard. The next time you buy Parmesan cheese save the rind. They can be frozen and then just tossed into your next pot of soup. I use collard greens in this soup because, well, I love them!  If you don't like them or don't have access to them, you can use Swiss shard, kale, or even fresh spinach leaves. Go ahead and make up a big pot and deliver this to someone in need and watch their face light up. Just don't forget to save a bowl for yourself!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound collard greens, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, bacon, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the collard greens and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer until the greens are wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard Parmesan rind and rosemary sprig (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem.)  Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


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1 comment:

  1. This is totally gluten free...yum! I can't wait to make it!!