As soon as the first leaf drops off a tree in fall, I’m ready for some heartier soups. Soups and stews are my favorite things to cook and we devour a couple of gallons per week since teen daughter’s friends have discovered it as a major food group. I was surprised how few had ever tasted homemade soup so we had “soup class” last night and here’s the one they made. When the weather starts to turn cooler, what soups do you get a craving for?
SHORTCUT HEARTY BEAN SOUP
1/ 4 lb. cooked ham, in one piece
2 medium-size celery stalks
2 medium-size carrots, peeled
1 medium-size onion, peeled
1 medium size yellow squash (about 8 oz.)
1 (40 oz.) can cooked Great Northern beans
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/ 2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/ 4 tsp. pepper
1 (14 to 16 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1 cup fresh spinach, packed, stems removed, and chopped
2 cups water
Grated Parmesan cheese
Cut ham into 1/2 inch cubes, dice celery, thinly slice carrots, chop onion, and dice squash. Drain and rinse beans. Remove 1 ½ cups of beans to medium bowl and mash into a smooth paste with a fork or potato masher. In large pot, cook ham, celery, carrots, onion, and squash in oil over medium heat until vegetables are tender and begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil, pepper, tomatoes, chicken broth, spinach, bean paste, and water. Over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in remaining beans; heat through. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Note: Ham can come from the deli section and spinach from the salad bar at the grocery store.