Oh the excitement! We’re about halfway through Michelle’s brilliant fall recipe exchange. I, for one, keep hoping the CSA box will turn up a butternut squash, destined for Torrie’s savory Butternut Squash, Sage, and White Bean soup. No luck yet.
A big welcome to all the readers from participants’ blogs. For newcomers, 5thjoy celebrates the best in home cooking, fashion and interior design.
Today I made Hearty Chicken and Cabbage Minestrone soup. No pasta, extra protein from a leftover roasted chicken, and plenty of cabbage to add body and fiber.
A few notes: You could easily add pasta to make a more traditional minestrone. I prefer to eat pasta on its own with a rich sauce; it seems to get lost in soups, and softens up too much for my liking when reheated.
I had a mixture of fresh cranberry beans (not dried or canned) and pre-cooked red kidney beans on hand, so adjust the bean ratio and cooking times according to your own pantry. If you’re using canned beans, you won’t need to simmer for the full 45 minutes.
If you’ve never dropped a Parmesan rind in your soup before, I highly recommend it. There’s no better way to use up every bit of flavor, and it imparts a creamy richness to the broth.
Fiddle with the water/chicken stock ration at will depending on what you have on hand. Vegetable stock would work well, too.
Lastly, if you’re making a vegetarian version, substitute 1 tbsp olive oil for the bacon fat, bump up the bean volume, and omit the chicken.
Hearty Chicken & Cabbage Minestrone
- 1 tbsp olive oil (2 tbsp if you’re omitting the bacon fat)
- 1 tbsp bacon fat (optional)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 8 garlic cloves, diced or crushed
- Salt & pepper
- 1 head savoy cabbage, roughly chopped
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1-2 handfuls fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberry beans
- 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
- 2 1/2 quarts water
- Parmesan rinds (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups precooked (or canned) small red kidney beans (optional)
- 1/2 the meat of one 4 lb roasted chicken, shredded
- Shredded basil and chopped parsley for garnish
- Grated Parmesan
Heat the olive oil and bacon fat in a large stock pot. Add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cabbage and cook until it wilts, about one minute.
Add the tomatoes, fresh thyme and bay leaf; stir for one minute. Add the fresh cranberry beans, the water and the chicken stock. The liquid should cover the beans. Drop in 1-2 large Parmesan rinds. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes (until beans are cooked).
Add the shredded chicken and any additional precooked or canned beans you like. Allow to warm through.
Fish out the bay leaves, thyme branches and cheese rinds.
Garnish with shredded basil, chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.