Actual G chat between Sue and Cat:
Sue: We should do a soup week.
Cat: We’ve posted a lot of soups, I feel like.
Sue: Yes, but there are so many more.
Cat: Do you think we could come up with that many new soups?
Minestrone, clam chowder, ham and bean, chili, tomato soup, bisques, curried cauliflower soup, butternut squash bisque, corn and poblano, beef and barley, wedding soup.
Should I keep going?
Split pea soup.
CREAM OF MUSHROOM, broccoli cheese, hot and sour.
Caitlyn: Oh ok, noted.
Sue: OH I could try and make the Brazilian coconut curry shrimp soup.
And chicken and dumplings!
I have a problem.
Caitlyn: Yeah what’s with you and soup?
Sue: I really love soup!
10 minutes later
Sue: Mulligatwany! Black bean and sausage!
It’s true, I have a problem, I love soup a little too much. If you would like, you can look back at all of my other soup posts and hear me humbly profess my (extremely) deep love for soup. So instead of telling you that, I’m bout’ to drop some soupy knowledge.
Have you ever wondered to yourself, where did the word restaurant come from? Oh wait; you’re not a dork like me? I’m still going to tell you. In 16th century France the word restaurer referred to a highly concentrated inexpensive broth that was supposed to ease physical exhaustion. The little food carts they served it from were called restaurants. As a result of the French Revolution, many noblemen, their families and entourages fled France. Chefs were among these refugees. One particular soup lover (a man after my own heart), Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, opened a public eating house in Boston called “Julien’s Restorator.” This was his translation of the French word restaurant into English. Bostonians later referred to it as Julien’s Restaurant. Julien’s claim to fame was one particular soup, turtle to be exact, that had vegetables cut into long narrow strings, thus the term to julienne vegetables.
It’s all about the soup, people. You know that saying that you can tell the quality of a chef by their ability to make a soup from scratch? It’s true.
On to minestrone, a famous Italian soup. Minestrone means “big soup”, and it’s pretty much that- a big pot of delicious vegetables. Minestrone is another one of those soups that just doesn’t really have a master recipe. It almost always contains beans, tomatoes, onions, celery, stock, and some starch (rice or pasta)…but even that’s not always true. It is generally made from seasonal vegetables, and can be either vegetarian or not. Although, it is often made without meat, it is almost always made with stock- which by definition is not vegetarian. Would you like to know what the difference is between broth and stock? It’s the bones. Would you like to know what bones contribute? You’ll have to wait for another soup post.
So this recipe is a hodgepodge of many recipes, as per usual. While I was making this I actually had to cut down some of the ingredients because my pot wasn’t big enough for everything I wanted to add…and I was using a 5.5 quart Dutch oven. The balance still worked out perfectly. So- get your biggest pot, and get to it.
Sausage Minestrone Soup
1 lb sausage, mix of sweet and hot
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can great northern beans, rinsed
2 cups tomato juice, about 3 of the little cans
6-8 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 zucchini, diced
1 summer squash, diced
1 cup pasta*
2 Tbs freshly chopped basil
In a large pot cook the sausage, breaking up into bite size pieces with a wooden spoon. Once the sausage is browned, add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until the onions are transparent. Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the beans and stir to combine. Add the tomato juice, chicken stock, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cook for 40 minutes until the vegetables have softened, and the flavors have married.
Add the zucchini, squash, tomatoes and pasta and cook for another 10 minutes until the pasta is tender. Stir in the basil and serve.
A few notes:
The hot Italian sausage adds a significant amount of flavor to this, use more if you want, but definitely don’t use less.
You can use any kind of pasta you like, minestrone commonly comes with rice or orzo. If you choose to use those reduce the amount to ½ cup. I used these little baby penne pastas, they were delightful (I’m a sucker for all things in a tinier version than usual).
I used kidney beans and great northern beans. I used great northern beans because I love them, I also bought a can of butter beans (another love) but I ran out of room in the pot. If you like the added protein you can add up to 3 cans of beans. Just don’t omit the kidney beans, whatever you do (you can, but why?).
Add whatever veggies you like, kale or spinach would be an excellent addition.