Minestrone is a Tuscan vegetable soup. The name comes from the Italian word, “minestro” (‘soup’). There are many variations on this dish, some involving meat. One of my favourites is the chicken version. Here’s my recipe:
- 1 gallon chicken stock (I simmered 1 chicken carcass & drippings in water with carrots, celery and 2 garlic cloves for 2 days)
- 2 cups chopped/ shredded baked dark meat chicken
- 2 cups chopped baked fingering potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups diced cabbage
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped green beans
- 1 adult leek, chopped
- 1 cup hand-shredded baby spinach
- 2 whole sprigs rosemary
- 1 handful shredded basil
- 1 handful (1/2 cup?) shredded parsley
- 1 oz (1″ cube) parmesian cheese
- extra virgin olive oil
- ground black pepper
- 32 oz. peeled whole tomatoes
- 16 oz. chick peas/ garbanzo beans
- 16 oz. white beans
- 16 oz. pinto beans
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
PREPARING THE STOCK
Setting the stock to simmer, throw in the parmesan, rosemary, basil, parsley and herbs de Provence. Add the chopped fingering potatoes.
Next, open all the canned ingredients. Drain the tomato juice from the canned whole tomatoes into the stock before chopping the tomatoes. Add all remaining canned ingredients to the soup.
Allow the soup to continue to simmer while the fresh ingredients are prepared. Make sure all the vegetables are well-washed (the leeks love to hide dirt and sand) before dicing and chopping.
Prepare a pan to sauté the vegetables as follows: pour ¼ – ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil and set to Med/ High. Crush 2 cloves garlic and throw in with the oil. When the oil is hot enough for the vegetables, throw them in. Stir and continue to sauté for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly tender.
Add the sautéed vegetables to the soup blend and allow to simmer for at least 1 – 2 hours.
Next, with the soup still simmering, add the shredded/ chopped chicken and orzo. Set a timer for 1 hour. (Or however long the orzo will take to cook – different types have different cooking times. Despite what the box may say, don’t boil the orzo! It’ll ruin the consistency of the other ingredients.) If desired, grind a dollop of black pepper into the stock and stir.
Fish out the rosemary sprigs and parmesian rind/ hunk. Serve with hot bread and cheese.
- To make a kosher vegetable/ dairy version, use a good vegetable stock (cook carrots, leeks/ onions, celery in water for 2 days) and don’t add meat. The parmesian will really help add flavor to the stock and cut on the acidity of some of the ingredients.
- To make a kosher meat version – withhold the parmesian. While it adds to the body of the stock’s flavor, it’s not necessary. I haven’t tried parve cheese in soup yet, but it might be worth it.