Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Grammie Soup!

This is the soup I'm making today. There's a big soup pot of it simmering on the stove right now. It's a variation on a soup my Grandmother would make with escarole and sausage. It was a special soup and a first course for many a holiday meal.

Grandma’s Escarole (or other greens) Soup

2 large onions diced (or a bunch of leeks work well, too)
4 large carrots diced
4 stalks celery diced
1 fennel bulb diced or one celeriac diced (optional)
3 cups cooked beans (chickpeas, cannelini beans, baby limas or any small white bean)
3 large bunches of greens (escarole, dandelions, mustard greens, kale, spinach, Eatwell stir-fry mix, whatever you like, use a variety of greens)
8 cups of veggie broth – or chicken broth if you prefer
4 cups of water
4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP dried oregano
2 TBSP dried Italian parsley
2 tsp celery seed
2 tsp crushed whole fennel seeds(optional)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
black pepper and salt to your taste

In a heavy bottomed large soup pot, place the 4 TBSP olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring until wilted (do not brown).  Add the diced carrots, celery, fennel, salt, the dried herbs and bay leaves – stir well,  lower the heat and cover to ‘sweat’ the veggies and herbs for about 5 minutes.  Add the veggie broth and water and bring to a boil.  Add the greens and beans – simmer until  the veggies and greens are tender. Correct seasoning – add salt or more pepper if needed.  You may add some more water as well along with the broth, if you like more liquid in your soup. 

If you are of the meat-eating persuasion, try adding 1 lb. cut up Italian sausage to the olive oil, browning the meat before adding the onions and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.  Makes a gallop-cious full up pot of soup.  Freeze some for later and eat some now. 

This soup is open to endless possibilities – use some small pasta instead of the beans if you prefer.  Or add diced cooked chicken to the pot, or make small turkey meatballs that you drop into the boiling soup.

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