New Year’s Resolution Minestrone

by Jessica Harper
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soup3So far I have stuck to my New Year’s resolutions except for the part about the peppermint bark. I resolved to eat nothing but healthy foods and have done so religiously since December 31st–except for the peppermint bark. I just gave the peppermint bark (what was left of it) to Aunt Christina so now I am totally on track.

I made this soup which is full of high-fiber vegetables and makes you feel virtuous even before you finish chopping the leeks. Tom and I have been eating it all weekend and we both feel as fit as say, that guy in “Creed.” (Michael B. Jordan, not Sylvester Stallone.)

I gotta be honest, it’s a pain in the neck to make but worth the trouble because you end up with enough to last for ages so it’s three meals for the aggravation of one. Plus you get all that upper-body exercise from the veggie choppage. Okay, it’s unlikely M.B.J. got those biceps by this method but still.

So give your peppermint bark to an unsuspecting relative and make this soup. You will be glad you did.

 

New Year’s Resolution Minestrone

(Makes about 12 lunch servings.)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 leeks (white part only), well rinsed and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 head Savoy cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 medium potato (any kind) peeled and cut into 3/4 inch dice
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
2 quarts’ low sodium chicken broth (see note)
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes with their juices
1/2 cup frozen petite peas
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels (or fresh if it’s summer and you’re not too crabby to scrape a cob)
1 can (15 ounces) small white bens or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Melt the butter in the oil in a large soup pot over low heat. Add the onion and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable s are soft and translucent, about 15 minutes.

Add the garlic, herbs, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1 minute. Raise the heat to medium-low and add the cabbage. Cook, stirring once or twice, for about 5 minutes.

Add the carrots and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 2 minutes. Repeat this with the celery potato, and parsnip, in that order, adding one vegetable at a time and cooking each for 2 minutes or so.

Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Raise the heat to medium and bring the soup to a simmer. Then return the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer it for about 1 hour.

Add the peas corn and beans and cook for 15 minutes (Are you crabby, yet?) Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot, passing the cheese separately.

Variations:

If you’re not too crabby already, you can add or substitute any vegetables for those listed, like green beans, broccoli, a turnip, rutabaga – anything your family will tolerate (or not notice). Also, at the end of cooking you can throw in a handful of diced cooked chicken or meat. You can also put a scoop of cooked rice or pasta at the bottom of each diner’s bowl and pour the soup over it.

Note:

If I’m too lazy to make homemade, I like to use Imagine Organic Free Range Chicken Broth, which is available at most Whole Foods stores.

 

Jessica Harper is an actor/author who lives in Los Angeles and New York. Her latest book is "The Crabby Cook Cookbook," and she also blogs at http://www.jessicaharper.com and at http://www.thecrabbycook.com.

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