I love soup in the winter time. There is just something about the warmth and the smell in the house that makes me feel all domesticated. It also offers us a major bang for our buck in the vegetable department.
I'm known for my "dump soups" = just throwing stuff in a pot and seeing what we get. (And when I say "known," I mean in my house...ha!) Sometimes my "dump" isn't too shabby, as was the case Sunday when I decided to make bean soup.
This was so random because I've never even had it before but something got me thinking on the line of beans so I bought a bag and started dumping. I started off with a mind to use a left-over ham bone, but ended up in a more Italian direction. If you decide to try it, let me know what you think!
Italian-y Bean Soup
Take a 1 lb bag of beans (I used white beans) and set them to boil in 12 C water. Let them go for an hour.
Towards the end of the hour, take your Dutch oven (do you have one of these?? I LOVE mine!) and heat a little olive oil. Throw in one chopped onion and some minced garlic (I used a clove). Then add three chopped stalks of celery (with the leaves) and a couple chopped carrots. Then add 1 C smashed tomatoes and 1 can of diced tomatoes (with the juice). Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, rosemary and a bay leaf. Then dump in your beans (with remaining water) and let cook for another hour. Before serving, add a half bag to a bag of fresh spinach to the top.
Don't let your kids see you do this or they'll freak out. Just give it a second...
And it'll cook right in there! Spoon into bowls and sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese over the top and you've got a supper healthy comfort meal with very little to no fat! Of course my husband (who agrees with Emeril in the necessity of using pork fat) commented that Italian sausage would have been excellent in here and it would have. But I didn't have any. If you want to add that, just cook it up in your dutch oven in the very beginning...remove the cooked sausage and cook your veggies. Then add back in your sausage with the beans.
50% of my children enjoyed it immensely. I'll let you guess which one...the white beans got soft enough that she could feed herself...which she obviously loves! You could serve this with crusty bread but that's really all you would need. It's very filling!