Other than their minimal “no thank you” helpings, and vats of ranch dressing, this soup is the number one to get good veggies into our children.
You probably see it on the meal plan, seven, ten times a month. We eat this soup a lot.
We always make sure the soup is cool enough for kids to eat. To quadruple check for temperature, kids get lots of bread and dippers and we take our time.
(Tonight, we sat by the fire to watch Ratatouille while eating our soup and sandwiches.)
Helen Jane’s Minestrone Soup Recipe
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 pieces bacon, chopped fine
1 large onion
3 stalks celery
3 carrots, peeled
3 cloves garlic
1/2 green cabbage
1/2 bunch kale, washed
1 32 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
1 16 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons Stella shaped pasta or 1/3 cup Ditalini pasta.
A block of parmesan cheese and a fine grater
Chop the onion, celery and carrots fine. You want them small, especially if small mouths are consuming. Mince garlic. Slice the cabbage fine. Remove ribs from kale and slice fine. Open your can of tomatoes.
Your veggies are ready.
Warm olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Add the chopped bacon and stir until cooked through and fat has melted down.
Remove the bacon from the oil to drain on paper towels. Add onions, celery, carrots, salt, pepper and bay leaf to the pot. Since I had a half red pepper left over, I chopped it wee and added that too. If you have one, join in! If not, that’s okay too!
Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Add garlic, cabbage and kale and stir frequently until mixed through and limp.
Add can of tomatoes, chicken broth and water.
Stir through until everything is mixed. Turn heat to high, bring the soup to a boil and then turn to low and simmer. If I have a random Parmesan cheese rind, this is when I add it. If you have no Parmesan cheese rind, I promise I won’t hold it against you.
After 15 minutes, add the white beans. Cook for another 20 minutes, add the pasta (if you’re using) and cook until the pasta is tender (7-10 minutes, depending on the size). Remove bay leaves, taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Leave the bacon out and swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth and you’re looking a little Vegan around the edges.
Serve with sprinkled reserved bacon (this keeps it crunchy) and a healthy scattering of grated Parmesan cheese.
(Sometimes, when lilygilding, I drizzle olive oil over the whole thing.)
If the soup’s not enough, I like to serve this soup with grilled cheese or panini.
Healthy comfort on, my friends.
Healthy comfort on.