minestrone soup with dill.

my friend invited me to go with her out to a local farm to pick vegetables. actually, it was more like digging. yeah, we dug up those tasty vegetables.

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it was one of the funnest experiences i have ever had. there is something about working hard for the food we put into our bodies & taking pride in eating things that are local and good-for-us-foods. there were rows upon rows of brilliantly vivid rainbow chard, fields of fresh dill and mountains of onions, beets, carrots, cabbage, brussel sprouts, baking pumpkins, leeks & potatoes.

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we went around to several different fields and somewhat had to fend for ourselves when it came to figuring out what was what. however, it was such a wonderful opportunity to learn what all of the different vegetables looked like while they were still growing in the ground.

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i came home hauling in bags that were overflowing with greens. i hadn’t really thought about what would happen once i got home. genius. the vegetables would all need a thorough scrubbing. many of them, in fact nearly all, still had the roots in tact & dirt and bugs were making their way into my house along with all of the plants.

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it took several sink loads full of vinegar baths to wash all of the vegetables. after they were all washed i began cooking. i had a few things in mind while i was picking — it wasn’t all completely blind. like i found the largest head of cabbage i had ever seen. and although my photos won’t do it justice, i assume my telling you that this one head made over 35 C. of chopped cabbage will. i grabbed that specifically for krautbergers. a family tradition. on my side. there will be an entirely separate post about those so i will stick to the soup for now! a few days in to this cooking process, i wanted to make a minestrone soup. so many of the vegetables that i had picked specifically for it were perfect, as well as any leftovers i may have had that i was not particularly planning on using for any meals. i threw them all in. nearly everything i had left. minestrone is such a lovely soup because you can use whichever vegetables may be in season. it’s incredibly flexible in that regard.

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in the end, i was left with additional carrots that wound up being enough for a double batch of carrot cupcakes [enough for my husband to take two dozen in to his office, me to bake a cake for my grandparents, a dozen for us to have at home & then another dozen for rigby eleanor to rip from the counter top and eat all to himself while i wasn’t home — wrappers and all. yes, he figured out how to open my cupcake container. no, there weren’t any crumbs left on the carpet. he has become quite fond of my baked goods when they’re left about for him to snatch up. it’s a problem.] okay, on to the soup! you get it; i used every. last. vegetable.

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minestrone soup with dill {makes 12-14 servings}

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large red onion, washed properly & diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 medium leeks, trimmed, washed very well & sliced — make sure you wash in between all of those tiny crevasses! there are bugs & dirt lurking in shadows of leeks. i’m not joking.

4 medium turnips, washed up properly & diced

1/2 stalk celery [5-6 ribs], washed up properly & sliced thinly — let me clarify: [definitions for celery have become quite blurry these days – but in any of my recipes single sticks will be listed as ribs and an entire head will always be referred to as a stalk. **ahem** which is how it should be in all recipes, might i add. a stalk or a bunch. seriously. read about it.]

3 large carrots, washed properly & chopped

2 large red potatoes, washed & diced [i do not ever peel my potatoes. however, if this is something you prefer — peel, peel, peel!]

1/2 C. dry red wine

1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand. watch out! if you squeeze them too quickly, juices will be flying. everywhere. if you are opposed to using canned shite as i often times am, fresh tomatoes could so easily be used in place here!

8 C. low-sodium stock|broth [i prefer low-sodium organic vegetable broth for this soup. however, you could use organic free-range chicken broth or organic beef broth if you prefer]

2 C. cooked navy or northern beans

1 C. kale, washed well & chopped finely

1 C. your favorite tiny pasta {optional} i used a gluten-free, wheat free orzo in my soup but you could use in place tubetti or mini farfalle or any type of small elbow.

1 tsp. fresh dill, chopped

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

2 fresh bay leaves

sea salt + freshly cracked black pepper, to taste [i used 1 tsp. salt & 3/4 tsp. pepper]

one wedge of parmigiano-reggiano for grating|topping {optional}

flat-leaf parsley, washed & chopped for garnish {optional}

super simple. you will need a very large stock|soup pot. heat olive oil until glistening. add onions, garlic & leeks and cook until fragrant [3-5 minutes]. add turnips, celery, carrots & red potatoes. continue cooking until potatoes & carrots have softened a bit and the veggies have had time to sweat [8-10 minutes]. add the red wine and let it reduce. add the crushed tomatoes and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. add the broth as well as all herbs, spices, salt & pepper except for the fresh basil & dill. reserve those for the end! let the soup simmer for 30 minutes more. add to the soup the beans & kale and continue cooking for 20 minutes. 10 minutes before serving, add pasta & fresh herbs. top with parmigiano-reggiano & flat-leaf parsley. xx

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