Tag Archives: soup

Beans & Pasta: a vegetarian soup to warm you on the coldest night


Earlier in February, B and I went to visit his mother near Ottawa, ON.  February was a brutal month for snow and cold, as I’m sure many of you remember.

But one thing can make all that melt away….a piping hot bowl of home-made soup!

She had made a large pot of this soup and it was so delicious that I kept going back for more.

Not to mention…garnished with Parmesan cheese?  Yep, I’m there!  (This may be something to leave out if you’re going for vegetarian friendly)

I have since made it as well and it keeps getting better!  It’s also a nice recipe for experimenting as it leaves room for additions.

So, here we go:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, diced
2-3 parsnips, diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 heaping tsp of diced garlic (I love garlic!  You may wish to adjust this)
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
pepper, I used quite a bit as I wanted a peppery taste
dried chili flakes, added just a few for a bit of bite
1 can diced tomatoes
6-8 cups broth (I used chicken but vegetable would work here too…I also upped the broth closer to 8 cups as I added more pasta and beans than originally called for)
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can mixed beans, drained and rinsed (again, these two cans of beans can be whatever type of legume you wish to add)
1/2 cup pasta, I used what we decided to call “forearm” pasta….as in, not the elbow shape but the tiny tubes without the bend
grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots and parsnips.  Cook until soft (5 mins).
Stir in garlic, basil, thyme, pepper and a few chill flakes if you wish.
Add tomatoes and broth.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 mins.
Add cabbage, beans and pasta.  Bring just to a boil again and let simmer for 5-10 until pasta is tender.

Stir in pepper and salt to taste.

Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese!

Curried Apple Parsnip Soup

Sweet creamy and yet tart…delicious soup!

Sweet creamy and yet tart…delicious soup!

Apple Parsnip Curry Soup

A few days ago, while reading the newspaper, I came across a recipe for curried apple parsnip soup.  Initially I wrinkled my nose and turned the page.

Granny Smith apples and parsnips? Um…yeah, no.

But as I flipped through the rest of the paper, skimming over stories of our mayor and his drug usage….oh pardon me, alleged drug usage….a part of my mind continued to consider that soup and how it would taste.

I’m a person who tends to like a lot of the vegetables that others hate with a passion…brussel sprouts, rutabaga, parsnips.
(You want me to turn up my nose? Throw in some olives.  Bleh.) So, Granny Smith apples…love ’em.  With dip, with cheese, in a salad, on their own.  Parsnips…again with the enjoyment. They have a strong autumn-y earthy flavour.  They are root vegetables and you know it when you eat them! In stews, soups, yep, I like them too.

Add the curry, the cider and the cream….

The more I thought about it, the more curious I was to attempt this sweet earthy soup. Before getting off the subway, I did the rip-and-tear, pocketing the recipe while others looked over curiously to see what part of the paper had caught my eye.  Recipes usually get a quick blink of acknowledgement and then the masses go back to ignoring you.  It’s when you’re saving the odd articles that people give you a second look.

So last night, I attempted the soup and I’m glad I did!  My only regret is that it only made a small pot.  Our leftover soup was minimal, equivalent to one bowl so we’re going to have to rock-paper-scissors over it or something.

It is an amazing soup!
The sweetness/tartness of the apples remains, but yet the actual apple flavour is minimal.  The parsnips ground the flavours making it robust and filling.

Definitely a perfect soup for a cool crisp autumn evening!

Apple Parsnip Curry Soup

  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) butter
  • 1 large cooking onion, peeled and diced
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) curry powder (I used more like 15ml)
  • 4 parsnips, trimmed and cut into 1-cm (1/2-inch) pieces
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 l (4 cups) vegetable stock
  • 250 ml (1 cup) cider (approx)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) 18% cream
  • Sea salt and white pepper, to taste
  1. In stock pot, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Add curry, parsnips, carrot and apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
  2. Add stock. Bring to a simmer and cook at a low simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables and apples are tender.
  3. Purée soup. I used a hand blender and pureed until almost completely smooth.
  4. Add cider and milk or cream. If soup is too thick, add more cider, 125 ml (1/2 cup) at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Season with pepper and salt.
  5. Consider adding some cheese on top before serving if you wish.

Stone Soup – Bringing friends together!

Last night, I hosted my very first stone soup dinner party.  It was amazing, the food was delicious and everyone had a great time!  There will definitely be another one in the works shortly!

Stone soup is based on an old folk story that has taken on many incarnations. Overall, the point is cooperation…sharing the little bit you have with everyone else, and they do the same.
The result?
No one goes without.

The story was first brought to my attention via a song sung by Heather Dale, which is predictably called Stone Soup. 🙂

The chorus goes like this:

The stone is in the kettle
The water’s on the boil,
The work is always lighter, 
When there’s many hands to toil!

I had eight friends over last night and the work most definitely was lighter! We took turns in the kitchen, prepping ingredients, and we ended up with an absolutely amazing soup!

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So, how did we structure this Stone Soup extravaganza?

I invited some friends over for dinner and asked them all to bring at least one ingredient to put in a soup.  It could have been anything: vegetable, spice, fruit, meat.  But everyone had to bring something. I had a few people ask about the *kind* of soup we were making and I didn’t limit it at all, but I could see the benefit to telling people whether you were thinking about a stew or a thicker creamy soup or a broth based veggie soup.

Ours worked out with no limitations.

About an hour before my friends were due to arrive, I filled my soup pot halfway with water and a couple of bouillon cubes and brought it to a boil. It’s hard to tell by the picture how much water I used but there had to be 12+ cups in there.

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While the water heated, I sautéed some onions, celery, carrots and garlic, which were added to the pot once it started boiling.
I also added a few bay leaves.

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A Stone Soup party is an awesome way to get rid of any excess of leftover vegetables you have in your kitchen.  Before everyone arrived, I pulled out a bunch of rogue veggies from my fridge that were obviously on their way out.  Perfect soup fodder!

So, what else got added to our soup?

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First up, a bowl of cooked green lentils!

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Some yummy spicy sausage

The sausage man hard at work! ;)

The sausage man hard at work! 😉

Diced leeks! These were getting ready for the bin so they became a delicious soup ingredent, sauteed first and then added.

Diced leeks! These were getting ready for the bin so they became a delicious soup ingredient, sautéed first and then added.

A whole acorn squash! Nom nom nom!

A whole acorn squash! Nom nom nom!

A good sized cup of red lentils

A good sized cup of red lentils

In addition to these ingredients, we also added 3 or 4 red skinned potatoes, dried oregano, dried thyme, fresh chopped watercress, salt and pepper.

Oh and we can’t forget the final ingredient that we added about 15 mins before serving the soup….

Four chopped bartlett pears!

Four chopped bartlett pears!

Yup! Pears!
I would never have thought of it myself and I admit, I raised an eyebrow.

But the point of the soup was to be open to all sorts of ingredients and in the end, the pear was pretty damn good!

We also had freshly picked and dried hot peppers from a friend’s garden that were diced up and place on the table for those of us wanting more of a kick.

The finished soup was incredible!

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It had this really lovely smooth and savoury  start that seemed to come from the pears and yet it ended on a high note with a light spicy kick from the sausage.
Everyone loved it and the only thing I regret is that I didn’t purchase some plastic containers so everyone could take some soup home.
Due to the amount of invitees and ingredients, there was a LOT of soup leftover! 🙂

The other nice thing about the Stone Soup party is that everyone took turns in the kitchen, which you can see in the above pictures.  There was no ONE host running around taking care of everyone.  Each person pitched in and helped!

Even little Sam hung out in the kitchen with us!

Not sure if he was eyeing my wine or the sausage!

Not sure if he was eyeing my wine or the sausage!

It was a great time that really brought all of us together.  The soup was a communal creation and it was almost more satisfying just due to that fact!

Stone soup for MEEEE!

Stone soup for MEEEE!

I even had dish washers! Thanks guys!

I even had dish washers! Thanks guys!

I will definitely be hosting another of these parties soon!

And hey, maybe next time we’ll actually put a stone in the pot! 😉

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So, I will do my best to summarize how we made the soup…but obviously measured amounts and exactness are non-existent, due to the very nature of Stone Soup! 😉

a mass amount of water
two vegetable bouillon cubes

Bring to a boil.

1-2 onions, chopped
3+ carrots, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
a few garlic cloves

Sautéed until soft and then add to the boiling water along with 3 bay leaves.

a bowlful of cooked green lentils

Add directly to the broth.

Andouille sausages, two packs
leeks, two stalks chopped

Sautéed each of these separately and add to the broth.

3-4 red skin potatoes, chopped, skins left on
1 acorn squash peeled and chopped
red lentils, a good sized handful

Add all these to the broth.

4 bartlett pears, seeded and chopped

Add these about 15 mins before serving.

Lastly, spice to taste with thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.

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