It's soup season in Maine. With an arctic freeze perpetually hanging over my lovely state and more snow than the plows can handle (not to mention an infant who's witching hour runs the gamut from 6 - 9 PM), soup is the Stefanski's best friend. However, given that one pot will last us 3-4 days, and our foodie nature doesn't like monotony, I've focused on a good base that can be brightened up a number of different ways. Below are two recent creations and their variations.
6 oz pancetta, chopped
2 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped carrot
3 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 16 oz cans cannellini beans, liquid reserved
1 28 oz can plum tomatoes in puree
7-8 c. chicken broth
1/3 loaf sourdough bread, cubed, crusts discarded
Combine olive oil, pancetta, and onion over medium heat and cook until translucent (8 minutes). Add celery, carrots, and garlic, cook until vegetables are soft. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
In food processor, puree 1 can cannellini beans with a bit of the liquid, reserving the rest of the liquid for the soup. Add liquid, pureed beans, and the remaining can of beans to the soup.
Chop canned tomatoes and add, with the tomato puree to the soup. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
For Ribolita -- put 1/3 of soup in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add cubed bread and heat for 10 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese and olive oil.
For Tuscan Bean Soup -- put 1/3 of soup in a sauce pan. Add 1 can garbanzo beans and 1 can kidney beans. Heat for 10 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese.
For Minestrone Soup -- put 1/3 of soup in a sauce pan. Add 2 cups chopped kale (or other green leafy vegetable... spinach, chard, etc) and 1 cup cooked pasta. Heat until warm and kale is reduced. Top with parmesan cheese.
White Bean and Rosemary Soup
3 cups White beans, soaked over night
2 c. chopped onion
4 tbsp. chopped garlic
5 tbsp. chopped rosemary
6 + cups chicken broth
Saute onion, rosemary, and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add white beans and chicken broth, simmer until beans are soft (~30 minutes). Puree in food processor, adding more broth to reach desired consistency. Season with Salt and Pepper.
Vegetarian Option -- Serve the soup as is. It's hearty, with lovely flavor.
Two variations with chorizo sausage and chard. Believe it or not, adding the same ingredients in different ways made for entirely different soups. For the 2nd evening, I sauteed 3 chorizo sausage and 1 bunch swiss chard in a separate sauce pan. I served the soup with a small topping of the mixture.
I added the same topping to the entire soup when I refrigerated it over night -- mixing it well. We ate it the 3rd day, and the soup had an entirely different flavor. Both were yummy.