Our weather has suddenly turned really cool, even “nippy,” and it’s just the perfect weather for soup! In our family we have two soups that are favorites, and it would be impossible I think to make any of us choose THE favorite because we like them both so much. One is a potato soup that my great-grandmother (and my father) used to make… I made the other favorite, minestrone, for our supper last night. The recipe for the minestrone soup came from a petite French-Canadian lady who cooked for her own Italian restaurant. And no, the Italian is not a typo!
Here is her recipe, which obviously is not strictly the Italian version of minestrone, and in parentheses any changes I have made…
1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)
1/2 pound stew beef or 2 teaspoons instant dry beef bouillon (I do not use the beef or the beef bouillon)
1 medium onion, about 1/2 cup chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed (we like garlic so I use more)
Cook the meat, onions, and garlic in a skillet in a small amount of olive or other oil until the meat is browned and the onions are transparent. Drain, then add to a dutch oven or similar large pot with the following:
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, sliced, about 1 cup
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup packed raw spinach or 1 box frozen spinach
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (I use crushed)
1 can kidney beans (I use a combination of small white beans and pinto or kidney beans… these are dried beans that I cook in advance and freeze… I think the different bean textures really add to the soup)
1 can whole kernel corn (I do not add corn… for some reason I don’t like corn in this soup)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I add salt and pepper to taste… amount of salt needed will depend on salt content in canned beans, etc., if you use them)
enough water to more than cover all the above ingredients in the soup pot
Italian seasoning to taste (I add basil, parsley, and oregano instead)
Parmesan or Romano cheese to sprinkle on top of soup in bowl
I also add:
1 cup of diced fresh carrots
1 or 2 potatoes, diced
1 cup frozen or fresh green beans
Bring everything to a boil, then simmer until the cabbage and other vegetables are almost cooked. Add 1/2 cup uncooked pasta and simmer again until the pasta is done. We prefer spaghetti broken into small pieces.
I always make huge batches of this soup and freeze the extras. It is really a delicious soup.