Do you ever get the feeling the curtain’s up and the show has started without you? The New Year is off and running, and already it feels like I can’t catch up. I tell myself the vacation is over; the lazy mornings and late-night movies will have to wait awhile. I need to get organized, get inspired…get cooking.
The other day, while sipping my morning latte, I glanced down at my lap and found just the incentive I needed, hanging over my pants. Gasp. Holiday belly.
It was the motivation that got me to embrace my stove again. Since I’ve never had the patience for dieting, my thoughts turned to soup. I was craving something flavorful and nourishing, a one-pot meal that would ease me back into the grind while staving off my appetite for last year’s indulgence.
I found a recipe for a vegan White Bean Soup that sounded promising but, after soaking the beans overnight and cooking for two hours, there had to be a quicker fix. So I substituted canned beans, added some potato for body, and threw in a Parmesan rind to deepen the flavors. It was so satisfying, I decided to test it at a family dinner, and the compliments were unanimous.
So soup’s officially on in my house. I’m back in my kitchen. And the belly? It was just a little post-holiday bloat.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks (about 8 ounces), trimmed and rinsed well, chopped roughly
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
2 russet or Yukon Gold potatoes (about 12 ounces), peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
6 cups best-quality vegetable stock (or filtered water plus 1 bouillon cube)
2 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more) and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 can (3 ounces) pitted green olives, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1. For the soup, heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, garlic, and rosemary sprig and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Lower the flame to simmer and add the beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the liquid has reduced and the potatoes are very soft, about 30 minutes.
3. Allow to cool slightly, remove the rosemary and Parmesan rind, and then blend the soup in batches until very smooth, adding extra broth if necessary. Transfer the soup to a pot and keep warm while you prepare the Garnish.
4. Rinse out the blender and add the olives. With the blender running, pour in the oil to form a coarse purée.
5. To serve the soup, ladle it into bowls and dot with a little green olive purée and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary.
Go ahead…motivate! Enter the January cooking contest for a good chance at winning some useful kitchen prizes!
Photo credit: twinklingalong.blogspot.com