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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rainy Day – Perfect for Reading and Soup

rainy Sunday2 030611As Grenville said in an earlier post, today is a rainy Sunday, rainy Sunday030611perfect for sitting down with a good read. Minding Frankie, is the latest and highly enjoyable book by binchey book 030611Irish writer Maeve Binchey. She is one of my favorite authors; reading her books is like spending time with familiar friends “met” in her earlier books. In a previous post, I mentioned how much Grenville and I printed books. Curling up with an electronic reader  just isn’t something to do on a rainy day – or any other day, at least for us.

Did I mention it was raining a LOT?

Great day to try a new soup recipe to enjoy for dinner with salad and homemade wheat bread. Scratched that last item, because the South Beach recipe is NOT worth posting. This loaf is going to the feeders for unwelcome visitors – starlings and grackles.

This Bean and Chicken Soup recipe was in a free magazine, Nature’s Place, available monthly in our local supermarket and published by Taste forLife. The website has recipes and healthy eating tips.

In the freezer this week, I found a package of pre-cooked chicken, leftover from a recent dinner. I read the recipe through and opted not to use pesto, since it’s not one of Grenville’s favorites and rarely on hand. Instead, I substituted a package of frozen chopped spinach. NO need to defrost it first. Also, I used a tbsp of jarred, minced garlic, no cloves available.

White Bean, Chicken and Pesto Spinach Soup
Prep time – 40 minutes; serves 8 or fewer with leftoversbean soup prep030611

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (this gives it a kick – omit if you prefer)
  • 6 C low-sodium chicken broth (stock if you have it)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cans (14-19 oz) cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 C shredded cooked chicken
  • ¼ C store-bought pesto (optional)
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar (see Note)
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion and sauté until softened.
  2. Add celery, carrot, garlic, oregano and cayenne, sauté for about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in stock, salt and black pepper and simmer until vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes. IMG_6249
  4. Add beans, chicken, 2 TBSPS of pesto (if using) and all of the vinegar OR add in frozen spinach.
  5. Heat until steaming. Taste and adjust seasonings, as needed.
  6. Serve in bowls and garnish with remaining pesto (if using).

NOTE: seasoning with a little vinegar at the end of cooking heightens the soup’s flavor. While most cooks only season with salt and pepper, a little acid can make the soup taste “just right.”

bean-chicken soup030611

11 comments:

Lois Evensen said...

Yum!

L. D. Burgus said...

Wow, does that look good. Lots of good things in there to make good for you too.

Grenville T. Boyd said...

I think we should EAT NOW!!!!!!!

grammie g said...

Hi Beatrice...way to go, and looks good!!
I'll have to give the vinegar tip a try!!

Montanagirl said...

Is it still hot? Looks wonderful.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi Everyone, the soup was a big hit at the F&P, just ask Grenville. And thank goodness I'm a better soup maker than bread baker, cause the South Beach version of wheat bread left a LOT to be desired in terms of taste.

LOIS, we agree! LARRY this soup was healthful and easy too. MONA, there's some soup left so we can reheat it for you. GRAMMIE G, the vinegar seemed to work well.

Elaine said...

Looks like you found the perfect remedy for a rainy day!

Anvilcloud said...

It rained all day here yesterday but snowed all night. Such is March.

Out on the prairie said...

Warm up with a good read and soup sounds good.I go through all written by an author when i like them.

Honest Abe Lincoln said...

It may be difficult to understand but during the war, my mother made soup with anything and sometimes there was no meat in it. I like to read but then there was no library in our town. And we had to car to go to a town with a library, about 25 miles away. Our country school only had one or two books and a dictionary.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

ELAINE, yes this was a good day indoors and the book was finished too. AC, glad the rain wasn't snow or we would have had quite an accumulation; the rainfall was over 1/2 inch. STEVE, I am the same way with an author and now will have to await Ms. Binchey's next one. ABE, I know folks who can make a soup from anything that's in their fridge (or pantry.). It's one of my favorite dishes to make cause it's hard to really fail at, unlike bread making. Our closest library here is the main branch, about an 8-mile drive. But within a few years, it will be within walking distance when a newer, modern facility is built.

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