Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Vegetable Bean Soup

In an effort to ignore the dreary spring rains outside, I'm making vegetable soup to brighten things up inside.

It's a meal I used to make all the time, and I'd forgotten how forgiving a vegetable soup can be, especially when you just start tossing in whatever vegetables are in the fridge. All you need is some good stock or broth and a big pot. Add a few spices and dinner is served.

This time around I added a bunch of mixed dried beans, to give the soup a bit of heartiness.

Mangia! Mangia!

Vegetable Bean Soup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 of a large red onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 stalks celery, diced
1 pound carrots, cut into 1/4 inch pieces (I used a bag of baby carrots and cut each piece in thirds)
2 yellow bell peppers diced
10-12 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 medium yellow squash, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 1/2 cups mixed dried beans, cleaned and prepared according to package directions (mine was a blend of beans, peas and lentils)
3-4 large rainbow chard (or substitute kale) leaves, stems removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian parsley, roughly chopped

In a Dutch oven or large pot, melt butter and heat oil over a medium high flame.

Add shallot and onion and cook, stirring frequently until shallot becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir, cook for 1 minute. 

Add celery, carrots and bell pepper and cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add 8 cups of stock, and scrape bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add salt and pepper, tomatoes and beans and bring to a boil.

Let boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer. Partially cover pot with lid and simmer for 90 minutes or more. Check soup after 1 hour. If it has become too thick, add more broth or stock, 1 cup at a time. Return to a boil, then back to a simmer to continue cooking until beans are tender and no longer tough.

Add chard or kale and stir until greens are wilted. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped parsley. Serve with a chunk of crusty bread.

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