Happy 2015, everybody!
As I reflected on what my New Year Resolutions would be, I came back to the one thing I vowed to do more of last year: write. I am kicking it up a notch this year and plan to also update this blog at least a couple times a week.
For you guys that enjoy reading this blog, you’re welcome.
I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone: I like cooking and I love writing, so why not do more of both?
Another resolution of mine is to start cooking more healthy dishes (but biscuits and gravy are soo good!, I thought), so I thought what better first blog post to feature in the new year than a vegetable soup I recently made?
Last month, I came across this “winter vegetable”soup from MyRecipes online and was instantly intrigued.
But I’ll admit it: When I saw that cinnamon was an ingredient in this soup, I was a bit hesitant to try it. Veggies? Sure. Cinnamon? Ehh. I wasn’t buying it.
Boy, was I glad I did. The addition–even though a small one–of cinnamon really kicks it up a level that I can’t quite describe. Infusing cinnamon with the basil, thyme, garlic, and all of the vegetables turned it into something beautiful.
Something that I’d love to have again on a cold winter’s day. My husband? Not so much! He wasn’t a big fan of it in general, though I told him he may just need some more time to get used to it. Or maybe not.
Either way, I know this is a soup I’ll definitely make again. I may just have to make a whole pot for myself, though. Oh, shucks.
The only changes I made to the recipe were:
- Used onion powder instead of actual onion
- Did not use acorn squash
- Used dry beans instead of canned beans (I always advise this — cheaper this way!)
- Incorporated some of the cooked dry bean water into the soup for more creaminess w/beans
So, here it is: an interesting, hearty, and delicious twist on a winter vegetable soup. Did I mention it’s a “light” soup AND with a lot of healthy stuff like kale? See for yourself why I enjoyed this soup so much!
Winter Vegetable Soup
[TOTAL COOKING TIME: ABOUT 30 MINUTES]
- 1 TSP olive oil
- 2 oz pancetta, chopped
- 1 TBSP onion powder (or, if you’re an onion fan, use 1 cup chopped)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups red potato, peeled & diced
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
- 1 TSP dried basil
- 1/4 TSP ground cinnamon
- 1/4 TSP dried thyme
- 1 (28-oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 (14.5-oz) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups kale, chopped
- 3/4 to 1 cup dried lima or navy beans, soaked, rinsed
- After properly sorting, rinsing, and soaking dry beans (I usually do this overnight), cook beans with water on stove top. I consulted this handy guide to cooking beans. And yes, I left the lid slightly ajar to get the creamy factor for the beans. 🙂
- When beans are finished cooking, transfer beans and bean water to a bowl. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; saute 3 minutes
- Add garlic cloves; saute 3 minutes
- Add next 6 ingredients (potato through thyme), stirring to combine. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add tomatoes, cook 2 minutes
- Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes
- Add kale; simmer 5 minutes. Add beans and what’s left of the bean water back into pot, simmer 4 minutes or until potato and kale are tender. If you’re wondering about why I saved the bean water, go here or a great explanation of why you shouldn’t waste it.
- If you are using dried beans like I did, be sure to have enough time in the day to allow them to cook. They can take anywhere from an hour to three hours, so be patient!
- This soup turned out pretty chunky to me the fist go-round. Next time, I’d add a bit more broth/liquid of some sort. I also think doing without the potatoes could help.