Winter is soup weather.
I love soup.
I do not, however, love winter.
I find I can enjoy a steaming, hearty bowl of soup just fine without the benefits of winter.
Ergo…. Stop the snow…. NOW!
I live in the southern half of France. It is not supposed to snow here.
When it does snow here, like today, it doesn't make a pretty, crunchy white blanket. It just oozes into the mud, allowing me and the girl dog to make dirty, wet footprints all over the house.
Not to mention that, when one lives where it's not supposed to snow, and it snows, no one has the slightest clue how to drive in it.
Having a kettle of soup bubbling away in the kitchen, perfuming the house, can make it, almost, worthwhile.
Minestrone is one of our favorite soups. I have the long, slow version here, using dried beans.
This is the quick, pantry version:
Minestrone, Pantry version
2 ribs celery
3 cloves garlic
2 cups cabbage
2 cups whole tomatoes (15oz, 450gr)
1 cup tomato sauce (8oz, 225)
15oz (450gr) red kidney beans
15oz, (450gr) white kidney beans
1 slice ham, 8oz, (250 gr) regular old pink deli or baked ham
4oz (125gr) spinach
1 quart (litre) chicken stock
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
spaghetti, 2oz, (60gr) a 'bunch' about 2/3" (2cm) in diameter – or less
In soup pot or Dutch oven (4 or 5 qt capacity) heat stock over medium-high heat. Mince garlic and add to stock. Chop carrots, celery and onions; add to stock. Drain tomatoes, reserving juices and roughly chop; add to stock along with juices and sauce.
To cut cabbage make a slice next to the core. You will probably use just that slice to get the 2 cups. Wrap and refrigerate the rest. Chop cabbage and add to stock. Cover and let stock return to hard simmer. Cook for 25 minutes.
Cut ham into bite-size pieces and add to pot. Drain and rinse beans; add to pot. Add herbs to pot. Add the spinach to the pot – roughly chopping if the leaves are large.
Break spaghetti into 3" (7.5cm) lengths and add to pot. Cover and simmer 20 minutes longer, until finished, stirring from time to time. Serve. Refrigerate the rest for later in the week.
Note: In the U.S. one can buy jars of 'Ham Base' which would be good – the appropriate amount dissolved in 1 qt water. The Ham Base could be substituted for chicken stock in soups, etc. in the future. I don't want to recommend buying it for just this soup, thus the chicken stock.
In addition to this, for the weekly menu for December 18 we have
Asian Baked Salmon, Garlic Pan-Fried Lamb Chops, Potatoes Savoyarde and, of course, Christmas Eve Dinner….
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