Monday, November 5, 2012

on soup

Good morning!  How was your weekend?  We went up to the Blue Ridge Parkway on Saturday with Will's youth group and hiked at Hump Back Rocks.  It was pretty cold, but the sky was blue and we had lots of warm layers so it was a great day in the mountains.  Just what I needed.  Yesterday we went to church, played outside with our neighbors, ate dinner together, and did a Face Time call (video chat on the iPhone) with cousin Grayson out in Colorado.  So good to see him!  Can't wait until we can all be together at Christmas.

So, soup.  Do you eat a lot of soup?  I never used to eat much of it.  I've never really had a taste for canned soup for some reason.  My mom makes really good chicken corn soup, but I don't remember eating a ton of soup growing up.  I never wanted to take it in my school lunch, and we usually had something different for dinner.  When Will and I got married, I never really thought about soup much since I was cooking for a guy who liked his meat and potatoes.  A typical newly-wed dinner for us consisted of a piece of meat, a starch, and a vegetable.  Lunches were packed sandwiches and chips and a granola bar since we were both busy with our respective jobs.  Tommy's never been much of a soup eater either, so I usually avoid making it for dinner since I want us all to eat the same meal.  But now that I'm home all day, when the weather turns in the fall and the days are consistently chilly, all I want is soup.  Let there be soup!  

Last winter I made a pot almost every week and ate it for lunch each day.  It so happens that it was almost always mexican chicken soup...I didn't waver much from the perfection that is that particular combination.  I've already started that ritual again this year but with three different soups this time.  And what makes it even better?  Annabel loves soup.  I love giving her a warm bowl of the flavor of the week and watching her devour it...and then ask for more.  There's just something about a hot bowl of soup that warms the body and the soul.  That sentence might sound a little crazy, but at least for me, it's true.  

I thought I would take the next three weeks to share my three favorite soup recipes.  I highly recommend making a big pot one day and enjoying the leftovers for lunch for as long as it lasts.  And if you can, invite someone over to share it with you (or share a bowl with a coworker in the lunch room!).  In the last few weeks I've shared soup with several neighbors and friends.  Sharing always makes you feel good.

First up, my new favorite:  

Kale, Sausage, and White Bean Stew from Jenny Rosenstrach's Dinner A Love Story.

1 onion, chopped
3 TBSP olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 
4 to 6 links (about 1 1/4 lbs) Italian chicken or pork sausage, casings removed
1 32-oz container chicken broth
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
2 14-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 large bunch kale, washed, stems removed, and chopped into small pieces
drizzle of red wine vinegar (about 2 TBSP)
Parmesan cheese

Saute the onion in the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring 1 minute.

Add in the sausage, breaking it up with a fork, and brown until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the broth (add less if you like your stews more chunky, less brothy), tomatoes, and cannellini beans (rinsed and drained).  Bring to a boil.  Add the kale, simmer until wilted, about 3 minutes.  Stir in a drizzle of red wine vinegar and serve stew with a lot of freshly grated Parmesan and crusty bread.

Notes:  It's possible to pull this meal together really quickly if you have all your ingredients out and prepped before you begin.  I use 5 sausages because that's what comes in the package, and the easiest way to remove the casings is to take a serrated knife and split them down the center.  Then just peel it off.  Kinda gross, but not that difficult.  The kale takes up a lot of space and can get a little unruly, so work in batches and store the chopped kale in a large pot or bowl until you're ready to put it in the soup.  (I know, I know, you're thinking that's one more dish you have to wash, but trust me, you just have to give the pot a quick rinse, and it will save you the headache of having to clean up the floor since the kale is sure to end up there if you don't keep it contained.  Believe me, I know.)  Once you have all your ingredients prepped, it's just a matter of throwing things in the pot in the right order and stirring.  Easy and delicious.  

I wish I had pictures to share with you, but I've made this twice now and both times the only thing in my head was, "Hurry up and cook so I can eat!"  So no soup pictures.  But just for fun, here's some from our weekend:

Tommy got some new legos!


Tommy on Hump Back Rocks.


Annabel getting a lesson on zipping from Tommy.

Reading books together.

Ready for church!

Painting (Tommy), eating (Annabel), dinner-planning (me).

I hope you give that soup a try!  It really is delicious.  Next week I'll be sharing the Mexican Chicken Soup recipe from the Food Network cookbook, and after that will be Beef and Cannellini Bean Minestrone from Giada De Laurentiis.  

So.....wanna come over for some soup?  :)  Have a great week!

P.s.  You have until 12 noon TODAY to leave a comment on last Thursday's post to win a gift card to Starbucks!  Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. I am VERY late posting (since work has been a bear....) but I MUST report that this soup is DELICIOUS!!! I got the best treat ever on this date, 11/5, when Chelsey, Tommy and Annabel came over to bring me lunch during a small break in my work day - and we got to enjoy this soup!!! Perfect blend of flavors, and I am so excited to have the recipe. Haven't had time to make it myself, but I also love soup - so this one will be made SOON! Thank you, Chelsey, for sharing your delicious soup - and coming to visit so I could get a squeeze from your cuties!