Malcolm’s favorite soup

Tomato and white bean soup

We went away for a couple of days. Now we’re back, and I’ve got a rotten cold and mountains of laundry, so I’ll tell you about our trip another day, maybe. Although a random helpful stranger told me I should stop talking about my dead dog and get straight to the recipes, so maybe I’ll just get straight to the recipes, and stop with all this meandering chit chat. It’s funny because while we were away, we were at a little party, and I kept talking about my dog. Then we went swimming at dusk, with the Blue Ridge mountains all around us in gorgeous shades of dark green. It was an ecstatic moment! As I was helping Isaac change out of his swimsuit, I said, “I should probably stop talking about Steenbeck so much!” And he gave me a hug with his small, smooth, post-swimming-cool-self and said, “It’s okay, Mom, you miss her, we all do.” He’s six years old! Don’t look now but I’m doing it again!

So, this soup. We’re going to have a bean, grain and veg week, here at The Ordinary, to adjust for our reckless holiday spending and the fact that I missed a weekend of work. We’re keeping it on a low budget! We drove for more than six hours yesterday, and got home very late (on a school night!) We’d also eaten lots of junk food over the previous few days. (For the trip down we packed fritos and nutter butters, and we stopped at Dunkin Donuts!). So we wanted something quick and nourishing. I turned to an old standby – Malcolm’s favorite soup. I suppose this is actually a minestrone, because it’s a tomato-white bean soup, and the boys eat it with heaps of pasta. It’s flavored with rosemary, thyme, smoked paprika and cayenne. We’re growing lots of basil, I’m delighted to report, so we added a handful of that, too!! It’s a little bit creamy, though cream-free, because I puree a small amount. It’s very easy, very tasty, and even Isaac ate three bowls of it yesterday.

Here’s Toots and the Maytals with Country Roads, because we drove along a lot of country roads the last few days.

2 T olive oil
1 shallot, cut into small dice
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 t rosemary
1 t thyme
1 t fennel seeds, crushed
2 bay leaves
1t smoked paprika
cayenne to taste
1 zucchini, grated (you can chop it into 1/4 inch dice, if you don’t feel like grating it. I like the texture of grated zucchini in soup, it almost melts into the broth)
1 can small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (or whatever kind you like)
knob of butter (unless you’re trying to keep it vegan)
splash of balsamic
lots of fresh basil

a few cups of cooked pasta – small shells are nice with the white beans, but any small shape will do.

Warm the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and herbs, as well as the fennel seeds and bay leaves. Cook till the start to brown. Add the garlic and zucchini. Cook for about 5 minutes, till the zucchini starts to get a bit brown, too. Add the white beans. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne and tomatoes. Add about three cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer till everything is warm through and it’s as thick as you like it. (Ten minutes should do it!) Add the butter and balsamic.

Carefully process about 1/3 of the soup. It will become pale, pinkish and creamy. Pour it back into the pot. Make sure everything is warm. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper

Chop the basil into ribbons and drop it into the soup.

I serve the pasta separately, because the boys like more pasta than soup (they eat it like pasta sauce) and I like the soup with no pasta at all, but you could pre-mix, if you like!


6 thoughts on “Malcolm’s favorite soup

  1. Country Roads by Toots, one of my first favorite reggae songs, plus I love beans and tomatoes in anything, I regularly make a stew with both in it.

  2. Don’t mind Mr. Grumpy-get-to-the-recipe. He can just click on the “read more of this post” line. Some of us enjoy your wonderful writing and way with words……food and family, what else is important?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s