I made some chicken stock the other day. I put it in the refrigerator to cool, and had a look in the pantry and the refrigerator to see what kind of soup I could make WITHOUT walking to the grocery store in the pouring rain! I had a can of kidney beans, I had some cabbage, I had some pasta. Minestrone it would be! I usually search for recipes on-line, or through my favorite new food website: FOODBUZZ. This time, for some reason, I opened up my cookbook cupboard, and reached for one of my ancient cookbooks:
The Harrowsmith Cookbook: Volume#1. I scanned the soup section, and found a recipe to match my ingredients...sort of. I very rarely have EVERYTHING that a recipe calls for, but I am very good at knowing what can substitute for what, and what can be left out, or added, without ruining a perfectly good recipe.
Here's the original recipe, with my substitutions in brackets:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery (1/2 a lg fennel bulb, chopped)
1 Tbsp oil
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup shredded cabbage
19 oz can of tomatoes (21 oz tomato juice)
5 cups beef stock(6 cups chicken stock)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (had none)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup broken spaghetti noodles(4 sheets of dried lasagna noodles cooked a bit then cut into 1 inch squares)
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini(had none)
2-3 cups cooked kidney beans, undrained( 19 oz can kidney beans 1/2 drained)
2 cups cooked beef, finely chopped(2 cups roast turkey breast chopped into 1 inch cubes)
Grated Parmesan cheese to garnish( I threw in a Parmesan rind end I found in the fridge, and took it out before I stored the soup in the refrigerator)
In a heavy pot, saute garlic, onion and celery in oil. Add carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, stock,parsley, pepper, and salt. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add noodles, zucchini,beans,and meat. Simmer 10 minutes longer or until spaghetti and vegetables are cooked. Add more salt if necessary.
Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and accompanied by hot crusty bread.
I really enjoyed this soup. So much so, that I burned my mouth eating it, and still had to have another bowl. I think it was extra good for 3 reasons:
1) The tomato juice: It made the texture of the soup so silky. I forgot how much I like tomato juice...and how long it has been since I have had any!
2) The fennel: I think the sweet anise flavour really balanced the acidity of the tomato juice
3) The Parmesan Rind: I believe the rind slightly thickened and enriched the broth, without giving it a cheesy flavour.
I had another bowl yesterday...and I do believe that it is improving with age!