It's still tailgate season. We are firmly in fall cooking mode. And almost everyone I know is the grown-up this year and is hosting Thanksgiving (a big shift that's been slowly occurring and at 47, I best embrace it). Time to share some recipes.
Let's start today with a quick soup recipe I developed using Trader Joe's 17 Bean and Barley Soup Mix and Sara as my adviser and official taster. She has become quite a reader of recipes and may just have the gift for just knowing a good recipe when she reads it. It is a truly a gift.
|my favorite picture from Tokyo, note Greg in the back with the old-school video camera|
Back to the soup. Consider it a good afternoon cooking project. A super nutritious meal in a bowl. Serve with crusty bread and a salad or just have a really nice big bowl of hot soup and maybe some apples or pears.
|this is what you are looking for on the shelves at Trader Joe's|
one package Trader Joe's 17 Bean & Barley Soup Mix
6 C chicken broth (love the organic boxed broth at Costco or TJ's)
one 29-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (Muir Glen tomatoes are wonderful)
5 or 6 fresh chicken Italian sausages (Whole Foods) or turkey Italian sausages (sweet or hot, you choose)
one medium onion, diced
1 cup diced or sliced carrot
one or two zucchini, diced
one red or yellow pepper, diced
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 T apple cider vinegar
pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 bay leaves
Parmesan rind or grated Parmesan
Soak beans overnight as directed on the package OR do as I did, put them in your soup pot with triple their volume of cold water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook uncovered over medium heat for 2 minutes. Let sit to soften for one hour.
Drain the beans. Rinse out and dry your soup pot. Add 1-2 T of olive oil and cook the sausages either in bite-size pieces or squeeze the sausage from the casings and crumble the meat as you brown it. Remove from the pot and drain on paper towels. Wipe the pot clean-ish and add another 1-2 T of olive oil to saute the onions until translucent. Add the peppers, zucchini and carrots and saute until soft (6-8 minutes). Stir in the garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper and saute for another minute until fragrant (do not brown the garlic). Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and beans and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the bay leaves, pinch of cayenne and Parmesan rind (if you have it, buy the wedge from Costco and save the rinds for soup). Simmer for at least an hour or until the beans are soft. Before serving, add the splash of cider vinegar and taste for salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and the Parmesan rind. Serve with grated Parmesan if desired. Serves 8.