I have to admit, I was never too excited about making soup. Soup usually prequels a meal, so even though it appeals to me, I enjoy it with a sense of reservation because I never want to fill up on it, risking that I will be too full to enjoy the main “event.” I think part of my lack of enthusiasm is also the fact that I have been pretty intimidated by making soup. My mom made a lot of soups during my growing up years and she made it look so effortless and easy… even when I watch her cook now she seems to just chop up vegetables, throw them in a pot, and let them magically blend and transform to produce a warming, love-filled, soup.
With the start of Fall, I made a commitment to conquer my fear of making soup. Now that the days are shorter, dinner time is a little darker and cooler, and so warm soup is much more appealing. To start the season, I made a big batch of vegetable stock to keep in my freezer. After spending probably what was too much time researching the best method for making the stock, I felt a little silly since the process turned out to be so simple. I filled 6 mason jars and stuck them in the freezer to be individually retrieved each time I planned to make soup. I expected myself to use my batch of stock to try out different recipes, but I have found myself loyal to just this one, faithfully making a new batch each week (sometimes twice a week.) The best part it that it comes together in about half an hour.
With all the butternut and delicata squash I have been eating, I thought it would be a good idea to take a break from those favorite Fall vegetables of mine for just this one dish. After perusing many recipes, I decided to try my own blend, choosing to include vegetables that aren’t too starchy or heavy, with cannellini beans that add a surprising richness and creaminess. This soup has wonderful flavor contributed by the fresh rosemary and thyme, which isn’t too strong or overpowering. I used fresh herbs but dried would work just as well, you would need to reduce the quantity of dried herbs used. One of the reasons I love this soup so much is because of the different textures…making it interesting and filling enough to be a one-bowl meal. As a variation, I have thrown in cooked quinoa and I imagine it would be delicious with rice as well. After making the soup and having my first taste at dinner, I was so excited by how this soup turned out that I found myself eating it for breakfast the very next morning.
As I was taking the pictures of my soup, poised standing on a chair, hovering over the bowl with my camera up close and ready for the shot, the contractor who is currently completing a project in the house walked through the room, stopped in his tracks, and gave me a funny look…. I felt I had to explain myself. When I told him about my new food blog, he asked what I was writing about this week. I replied soup, and his reaction was, “Wow, now that’s impressive, soup is hard to make!” If he’d have said that two weeks ago I would have agreed, but now I can confidently say soup does not have to be a challenge, especially when making this soup.
- 2 tablespoons Oil (I used refined coconut, however, substitute for your preferred oil/flavor)
- 1 Shallot, chopped
- 1 Zucchini, chopped
- 1 Yellow Summer Squash, chopped
- 1 large Carrot, chopped
- 1 whole Sprig of Thyme
- 1 whole Sprig Rosemary
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 15 oz can Cannellini Beans, rinsed
- 3 cups Kale, chopped and de-stemmed
- 1½ teaspoons Salt
- pinch of white pepper
- Heat oil in a large pot. Add shallot, carrot, zucchini, and squash and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until soft.
- Stir in the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, beans, and broth and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Stir in the chopped kale and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Take out the bay leaf and herb stalks. Partially puree the soup using an immersion blender, or carefully transfer to a blender, small amounts at a time, and puree to desired consistency. Stir in salt and pepper and adjust to taste.