To me, homemade soup is one the best things ever, especially in the winter and especially at lunch time. The only negative is that it can be somewhat time consuming to prepare. But if I can carve out one morning to spend putting together a fresh pot of soup, it can be divided up into freezer bags or containers and taken out as needed to defrost on days when I’m pressed for time.
This Broccoli and White Bean Soup is an example of one that really doesn’t take a lot of time to make, and the reward is three-fold: warm, comforting, and so good for you. The beans are what I call a ‘secret ingredient’ because at the same time they thicken the soup and make it incredibly creamy when you blend everything together. The recipe calls for fresh broccoli, but frozen works too – just skip the steaming step and add it in along with the beans.
Broccoli and White Bean Soup
adapted from Whole Living Magazine
makes 8-10 servings
- 2 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
- 5 cups chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted, for serving
- 1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Heat water to simmering in a pot with a steamer basket or insert. Add broccoli florets and steam until tender
and bright green, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly. Set aside 1 cup of the florets to stir in at the end.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Saute onion until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes. Add beans and stock and turn up heat to medium until it simmers.
- Remove pot from the heat and stir in broccoli. Let cool slightly, then puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a stand blender until smooth.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in reserved florets.
- When ready to serve, garnish each bowl with toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmesan.
PRINTER FRIENDLY RECIPE
From the look of things, there’s probably snow on the ground where a lot of you are. It’s hard to believe we had a big enough snow here in the South to make a snowman, but it happens on occasion. However, unless you’re from somewhere not too far below the Mason-Dixon Line you might need a lesson on how to build one.
I’ll tell you how to make some soup that will warm you to your toes after being out in the frigid air, though. A Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup that is flecked with tiny bits of bacon and warmed by a splash of sherry will do the trick nicely. Sprinkle a few toasted pumpkin seeds and bacon pieces on top and you’ll forget all about the snow.
Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup
makes 6-8 servings
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 small pumpkin
- 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup cream sherry
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel squash and cut off top and bottom. Slice lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Chop into 2 inch pieces. Repeat with the pumpkin.
- Pile squash and pumpkin chunks into a baking dish and add 1/2 cup water. Bake about 1 hour until tender when pierced with a knife.
- Put the bacon pieces in a large pot and turn on the heat to medium-low. Cook until bacon is deep brown and crisp. Remove to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pot.
- Add the yellow and green onions and the garlic to the pot and sauté over medium heat until softened. Strip the leaves from the thyme sprigs and add them along with the bay leaf, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir for about one minute.
- Add the roasted squash and pumpkin and sauté 5 minutes longer, then add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf from the pot, and puree the soup in a blender, food processor, or with a stick blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer gently for another 3-5 minutes. Pour in the cream and heat through.
- Add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg and top with the reserved bacon pieces.
Printer Friendly Recipe
But it can be delicious. Like this Kale and White Bean Soup with looks only a mother could love. It will fill you up and keep you satisfied for quite some time. And it is so good for you, it might be a crime.
Just a little chill in the air and I start pulling out the ‘big pots’. And they stay filled with everything from chili to stew to beans to greens. Being able to throw it all in and let it go gives a lot of satisfaction when fall finally arrives.
My husband is a hunter. It’s his hobby, pastime, passion. He brings home the bacon in both senses. And I like the idea of getting some of our meat from the wild instead of a grocery store.
I was raised, however, in the era of the cleaned and washed, plastic wrapped, part-labeled meat package. Very neat and tidy with no confusion as to what piece of meat you have. To my dismay, the person who does the packaging of the meat my husband brings him is not too concerned with which part is which, there are no labels at all. Obviously, to him “parts is parts”.