The very first soup that I made from scratch was Minestrone. It was unusually cold and foggy, the wood stove was radiating a wonderful warmth and I was in the kitchen paging through a cookbook that my sister-in-law had given me. I was looking for something that would warm us up! When I saw the Minestrone soup recipe I decided that it looked like something I could make....it was a hardy soup and would be perfect.
Well, I made the soup and, for just learning to cook, it wasn't bad, but, I knew that if I made it again something had to be done with the broth...it just didn't have the flavor that the soup had at the nearby Italian restaurant. I laugh at that thought...like it would have that flavor!
That is when I began doctoring the recipe and came up with one that we have enjoyed over the years and is the soup most requested by my girls.
The vegetables vary based upon what's in the refrigerator. I didn't have any spinach this time so I used Swiss Chard. I think the great flavor is really in the meat preparation.
1 pound stew meat (I had a top sirloin steak in the freezer so that is what I used.)
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can beef stock or beef consomme
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 - 3/4 cup red wine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme ground or 2 tsp fresh
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil
Pepper to taste
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 head finely sliced cabbage
Fresh or frozen spinach, amount to your liking
1 zucchini, if available, cut into large chunks
1 can kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup small pasta
Parmesan cheese, shredded, for topping
Cut the meat into small pieces. Dredge it in a mixture of flour, garlic salt and marjoram. Cook it in a stock pot with a little olive oil. Allow the meat to cook undisturbed until browned. Stir to brown evenly.
Add the onion and garlic to the pot and allow them to soften. Add the next eleven ingredients. Allow to simmer while you prep the vegetables. Add the carrots, potato and cabbage first as they require longer to cook. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes then add the zucchini (if using), kidney beans and pasta. Continue to simmer until the pasta is cooked. Add one cup water to the pot if a thinner consistency is desired.
Top each serving with a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan.
Perfect on a cold and blustery day!
I am sharing at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.