Recipe for my happy minestrone soup
If you kindly subscribe to my blog you may notice that this is my third blog post in as many weeks. After a 6 month hiatus. You know how that saying goes: You wait for a bus for ages and none arrive. When they do, they all come at the same time. I’m hoping my blogging will not take after this pattern but if it does, feel free to email me and give me a kick. Er.. please.
So, why am I making soup again? Some of you will know that this is the lunar year of the snake and that this new year was ushered in, by all those who celebrate it, a few weeks back. Traditionally, these celebrations last for 15 days. This was always a quiet affair for me in London but this year, K and I joined in the festivities with his family. There was a lot of eating – various goodies (cookies, crackers, cakes) specially made over the period; family dinners with too many dishes to count and more snacking whilst visiting our relatives.
The photo on the left is of a traditional cookie called ‘kueh bangkit’ and on the right, we observed the tradition to ‘lou hei’ or toss-up with a Chinese-style salad of sorts. With all this good food, I needed to bring some balance back to my diet (read: my skirts were getting too snug for comfort!). I figured a healthy soup was required and rustled up a big pot of minestrone soup for a few days’ worth of packed lunches at work. My choice of soup worked brilliantly – it kept well in the fridge for 3 days with the flavours developing beautifully.
It’s also the kind of cooking I like – not a lot of finesse required, whack all the ingredients in a big pot and let it do its own thing. I love how all the colours of the vegetables come together, it just puts a smile on my face when I see this beautiful pot of soup cooking away. You can use almost any sort of vegetable you fancy – if you’re in a seasonal country, try using fresh vegetables that are in season. Some recipes throw in bacon, browned at the start (oooohhhhhh….), whilst others finish with pasta or risotto rice (this is also a really good article on how to make a good minestrone soup).
Keep it versatile, make it your own. Be happy.
What you’ll need
- olive oil
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sticks of celery, cut into 1cm dice
- 2 carrots, cut into 1cm dice
- 1 large potato, cubed into 1cm dice
- 1/2 cup green peas
- 1 can red kidney beans, drained
- 1 can small white beans, drained
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 litre chicken/vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- black pepper
- 1 cup hot water
- 150g fresh baby spinach
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and add a lug of olive oil. Fry the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and potatoes for about 15 minutes, stirring now and then, until the vegetables have softened.
- Add the green peas, kidney beans, white beans, tomatoes and chicken/vegetable stock, then cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Throw in the herbs, chilli flakes and season with salt and black pepper. If the soup is a little bit too thick for your liking, add 1 cup of hot water to it.
- Add the baby spinach leaves, cooking an additional 20 minutes. Check you’re happy with the seasoning, then serve. Enjoy!