Monday, January 23, 2012

Minestrone... sort of.

I don't have images today, because I did not think that a simple minestrone soup (and not even a classic one, but a manipulated to be healthy version) would need to be documented. I admit, I was wrong. This was so good, and so easy, that it bears posting!

Ingredients:
- 1 lb ground turkey (or beef, but that defeats the "low cal" of it)
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, diced or minced
- several cups of broth (see below)
- spices to taste (salt, pepper, onion powder)
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 carrot, coined
- 1 potato, diced
- 1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas), well rinsed
- 1 can "other" beans (see below)
- 1/2 cup pasta (orzo works well, macaroni is traditional), uncooked

Method:
In your soup pot. brown your ground turkey. If necessary, drain it. With very low fat turkey it may not be necessary. Add the onion and stir until onion begins to soften slightly. Add garlic, tomatoes, spices, and broth to cover (depending on how "soup like" you want it to be, you may want more or less - I used about 8 cups of liquid, and I used my own home-made turkey broth). Cook for an hour, stirring frequently.

You want to have the garbanzo beans because they add protein (and in fact the soup would be almost as good without the turkey, but I like the flavor). The other bean can be anything: kidney, "little white," lima, chili, etc. If you are making the beans from dry, you want to end up with about a cup of finished (soaked) beans, but I prefer to make this from canned just because it makes it fast and easy. Be sure to really rinse out beans from a can, though, because otherwise they are slimy and grotesque and no one will eat them (okay someone might but I sure won't!). Let it cook another hour, at a low simmer.

Add your carrot and potato, diced into fairly small pieces. Cook until the potato is soft and edible, and then add your pasta. I used orzo just because I had a bunch of it sitting on the counter. I might also use my spetzle (that was what I was going to do before I saw the half empty box beckoning). Macaroni would work, as well as ziti, spirals, or anything else. Continue to cook (adding liquid if necessary) until the pasta is done.

Serve with crusty bread and big glasses of water!