So, we're all snowed in, right? I had the idea earlier in the week to make a gigantic pot of vegetable soup and eat it all week long. Weight Watchers has a cabbage soup that's really simple and completely fat-free. What a great idea to have a hearty bowl of soup and eat as much as you want, without a worry! That recipe/idea has been around for years, I believe. I remember a "cabbage soup" diet from the 80's. Anyway, that was partially my motivation. The other part is that I really love a bowl of spicy and flavorful soup, brimming with vegetables and beans, drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with freshly grated cheese. It's warming, satisfying and simply delicious. So, during the storm, I was storming the produce department to stock up on color. I was short on everything, so, I picked up the following vegetables:
Red Bell Pepper
Unlike the Weight Watchers soup, I like a little more flavor and a little more fat. It's all healthy, no matter what. It's kind of a vegetarian (not vegan because of the chicken broth) minnestrone without the pasta. I used all of the above vegetables, plus the following ingredients which I had in stock:
Light Red Kidney Beans
Swanson 100% Fat Free Chicken Broth
Passata di Pomodoro*
Kosher Salt & Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Ground Red Pepper
So, I coated the bottom of my 16 quart pot with olive oil and then sauteed these chopped veg: onions, garlic, carrots, celery, parsnip, red bell pepper and jalapeno peppers...... in quantity! Then, salt, pepper, a couple of bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Then I added the kale (ribs removed, chopped coarsely) and the cabbage (chopped coarsely). If you make this (or something similar), just add, stir and cook. Then, I added the chicken broth and the passata di pomodoro* (you can also add canned whole tomatoes, broken up, or tomato sauce, or fresh or canned chopped tomatoes or whatever you like). Season with your favorite seasonings. I used chili powder, ground red pepper and some Adobo seasoning. Use whatever makes you happy. If you don't add enough salt and seasonings, your soup is going to be bland. So, don't be shy. Once the soup simmers for awhile, the vegetables become tender and the flavor develops. Then, add peeled and cubed potatoes (red potatoes work well since they're waxy, they won't disintegrate . . . what potatoes? lol) and also add the beans, rinsed and drained. I always rinse and drain canned beans because I find that the liquid is sometimes salty and kind of gooey. I do believe that canned beans are a great product and one of the few canned items (plus tomatoes, for sure) that I have the utmost faith in....
OK... Taste, Taste, Taste. Adjust. You don't want to end up with a huge pot of bland and boring soup. I love the way ground red pepper and fresh hot peppers plus the tomatoes add zippiness to zuppa! Don't forget the salt because the broth is low sodium and it's up to you to flavor your food : ) : ) : ).
Barley or farro would be an outstanding addition to this soup, but be careful not to add too much or all of your flavorful broth will be absorbed and it won't be soup anymore. : )..... Pasta is always great. Make it separately and add it when you reheat a small pot or just add it in the bowl..... Ditalini or orzo would be great if you want to add more carbs and make it really filling. In any case, here's the best way to serve it up:
Drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan, Romano, Grana Padano or aged Asiago
Add freshly ground black pepper
Crusty, chewy, fresh, rustic bread on the side ~ buttered and ready to dunk
*Passata di Pomodoro - Try some! Super-fresh tasting, seeded & sieved tomatoes, imported from Italy. You can find them in bottles at your local Italian import store. Just tomatoes and salt. Really a nice addition for soups or even for a really fresh and simple pasta sauce.
Um, I'll ttyl. I'm gonna go eat another bowl. One of the bowls most people use as a serving dish. LOL.
Enjoy the snow and the soup,