Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pumpkin minestrone

As I just learned from Wikipedia, a minestrone is a thick vegetable soup, Italian in origin. So I can officially sorta call the soup that I created the past weekend a minestrone.

It's the season for soup: when I'm craving something warm and healthy and filling (but generally light), I reach for soups. I'm not normally very good at just making up recipes, but soup is one of the things that I do easily by feel. I usually start with a sense of what I'm looking for in a soup, scour my cabinets and freezer/refrigerator to see what ingredients I have, then throw it all together. This soup was one such concoction (with Lance's spicing help).

I wanted to make a pumpkin and bean soup. I had frozen pumpkin cubes and plenty of beans. I almost leaned toward a curried-coconut milk based soup, but veered toward the lighter minestrone feel. It made a huge pot of deliciousness--I just finished off the last bowl with half an avocado chunked into it. With a hunk of crusty bread and/or a salad, this soup makes for a satisfyingly wholesome winter meal.

Sorry about the approximations on the ingredients--I really did just throw things together. The good thing about soups, fortunately, is that there is plenty of wiggle room for ingredients, so feel free to add a vegetable or three (or even some grains or a little meat, if you're into that) or make substitutions like mad! (I thought that it might be especially good with a little chopped chard for some greenery).

Pumpkin Minestrone
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 lbs cubed pumpkin or squash
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes (I heartily recommend Muir Glen canned tomatoes)
  • roughly 3 cups (or 1-2 cans) beans (I used baby limas, but I imagine that navy beans would be good. I put in about 1.5-2 cups uncooked lima beans in the pressure cooker and let them cook lightly, finishing them in the soup)
  • salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, Italian seasonings to taste
In a big pot, heat the olive oil on a medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and saute until the vegetables soften some. Add in the garlic and cook a little more.

Add the pumpkin, stock, tomatoes, beans to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the pot to a simmer and let the vegetables cook. Add some salt and pepper and other seasonings to taste.

When the pumpkin begins to lose the corners on the cubes and gets soft, mash up a few of the cubes to thicken the soup (if you so desire--this was Lance's idea), taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

So simple and so good! I think this soup is delicious, and since it makes a lot, you could probably freeze some of it for later or share with several friends.

1 comment:

Kathryn Parks said...

..."share with several friends" in, um, me please! ;)