Our original intent was to pair this roasted vegetable minestrone soup recipe from Eric with the text in the preceding dried bean post. However, the dried bean exposition took on a life of its own. Hence, the separate recipe.
This soup is a versatile staple that can be adapted to your current circumstances. The basic recipe is gluten-free. You can make it with the vegetables that are in season and either vegetable or chicken stock. As a variation, you can dress it up with croutons and an egg for each diner.
Eric says that this soup is even better the next day, so you might want to make a larger batch.
Yield: 6 servings
2 cups dried beans (can be any type of dried beans, try a mixture of different types)
4 cups mixed seasonal vegetables, small or medium-diced
2 tablespoons sunflower, safflower, or grape seed oil
8 cups (2 quarts) vegetable or chicken stock
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, or 4 medium-sized diced fresh tomatoes when in season
4 cups chopped greens (such as kale, spinach, or mustard greens)
2 bay leaves
Small handful fresh herbs (such as basil, rosemary, sage, or parsley), washed and chopped
Good quality olive oil
2-3 cups of croutons (optional)
6 eggs (optional)
Note: For winter seasonal vegetables, try a mixture of root vegetables (carrots, sunchokes, potatoes), winter squash, celery, and aromatics (onions, garlic, or leeks).
In mid- or late-summer, try summer staples like green beans, summer squash, and eggplant instead of root vegetables and Winter squash.
1. Rinse and soak the dried beans overnight. On the following day, drain the beans and refresh the water. Transfer the beans and water to a medium-sized pot. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the beans.
2. Apply high heat to the pot. When the water comes to a boil, turn down the heat so that the water is simmering. Simmer the beans until they are tender, typically one hour. (The fresher the beans, the less time they will take to cook. Beans that have been stored for over a year will take longer.)
3. Drain the beans and set them aside.
4. Set your oven temperature to 450 degrees. While the oven is pre-heating, add the diced vegetables, oil, and two pinches of salt to a large bowl. Vigorously toss the vegetables, oil, and salt together until the vegetables are evenly coated.
5. Spread the coated vegetables on a cookies sheet (if they do not fit one one cookie sheet, use two). When the oven temperature has reached 450 degrees, transfer the cookie sheet into the oven.
6. When the vegetables are tender and just starting to brown (generally 8 to 10 minutes), remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Strain or blot the vegetables to drain them of excess oil and transfer them to a large pot. Add the vegetable or chicken stock, tomatoes, and bay leaves to the pot. (If you are using canned tomates, add the entire contents of the can.) Move the pot to a burner on the stove, if it is not already on one.
7. Apply medium-high heat to the pot and bring the soup to a vigorous simmer.
8. Taste the soup. Add more salt if needed. Add the chopped fresh herbs (whatever you already have in the kitchen).
9. When the flavors come together (should take only a few minutes), add the beans to the soup. Simmer the soup for five more minutes. While the soup is simmering, warm the soup bowls that you will be using.
10. After five minutes, lower the burner temperature to low and make sure the soup remains hot.
10. Place a handful of the greens into each warmed soup bowl. Ladle the hot soup over the greens. Add a drizzle of olive oil to each bowl and enjoy.
Heat your soup bowls so that they are very hot, instead of just hot. Boil the soup before serving it. After lading the soup into the bowls, crack an egg into each soup bowl and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup croutons, depending on preference, before drizzling the olive oil.
While at the table, diners can tap the egg with their spoons to release the runny yolk and cook it in the hot soup.