We are having a typical October around here. Yesterday the temperatures climbed to the mid-70s. Today started at 51 degrees and is expected to reach a high of 60. There is no sign of the sun yet but it is early. The wind is sending a few leaves skittering outside my window. After a few errands, I plan to stay in and work on the cluttered drawers in the dresser and the cluttered closet shelves. I have declared myself the "curator of clutter" and plan to continue curating it right out the door!! I don't even have to stop to prepare dinner. There's a container of soup in the refrigerator. Such a comforting thing.
It's hard to go wrong with a soup. I did read once that soups should be put together carefully and with purpose. Just tossing ingredients into a pot did not make a soup worthy of eating. I totally disagree! To be honest, I can't remember the last time I faithfully followed a soup recipe. Sometimes I don't have all the listed ingredients. There are times I think I can improve on the recipe. Maybe it's just using canned beans instead of soaking and cooking the dried ones. Enough with excuses! This soup is one from an obscure source that has changed a little every time I've made a pot.
Here's my recipe. Improvise all you want. As for the Parmesan rind: It takes a while to use up fresh Parmesan to have a rind for the soup pot. I've found containers of Parmesan rind at my Whole Foods for just a few dollars. If you don't have a Whole Foods, check your local grocery. They are a very nice addition to the soup but, if you don't have one, it will still be tasty.
Tomato, White Bean and Spinach Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tsp sugar
1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes with their juice
2 Tbsp tomato paste (I keep a tube of tomato paste in the refrigerator)
1 14 oz. can white beans drained and rinsed
6 oz (or so) of baby spinach (or another green that you might like)
2 x 1 inch (or so) of Parmesan rind
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for one minute.
2. Pour in the chicken stock, stir in the sugar, add the bay leaf, tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer covered, for about 20 minutes.
3. Add the beans and the Parmesan rind. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
4. Check the seasonings and add salt and pepper if needed. Add the spinach and cook for 10 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
5. Remove the bay leaf and the Parmesan rind.
ENJOY with a nice crusty bread!