Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Before I went paleo, one of my favorite meals was this minestrone. I've missed it, and so I set out to create a real food version that was equally as satisfying. So good, I wish I had more than one stomach, so I could keep eating the awesomeness. Tonight for dinner, I finally did it. A soup so brothy and salty, so tomato-y and creamy, so frikken yummy, that I just had to share. Bare in mind, this recipe makes enough to feed an entire army. Or one person for a week. And, it's good enough, you wouldn't get sick of it, either. Enjoy!

But first, some notes about broth. Home made broth is super easy to make. Tonight, as we were savoring our sumptuous soup, (which, by the way, my kids ate without complaining,) I said to Jeremy, "Can you believe we used to unwittingly throw the stuff away?!" Back in our non-real-food days, we would make a roast, or chicken, or turkey, or ham, in the slow cooker. We'd eat the meat. Then, we'd take those lovely fats and juices that were left in the pot, and -- don't freak out-- we would throw. them. away.

I know! Don't worry. Now I know better. The broth I used tonight came from a rump roast we cooked Sunday, mixed up with a bit of water and salt. Perfect! Ideally, you'd use bones in your broth, and not too much skin or fat. Bones, because the marrow in them is all full of yummy nutritious stuff. Yummy+nutritious=bonus! Not skins or fats, because the broth will come out greasy. Especially with chicken. If you should ever find yourself with a greasy broth (it will feel too thick and icky in your mouth, instead of salty and pleasantly buttery), don't fret! Easily remedied by refrigerating it over night, and skimming the layer of grease off the top in the morning. Now that we know not to ever, never ever, throw away the wonderfully juicy juices left behind from a slow-cooked meat, let's get to the soup!

Tiff's no-fuss-eat-til-you-die Minestrone:
prep time: 20-30 mins, depending on how fast you chop
cooking time: at least one hour
yield: a boat load

You will need: 

1 large yellow onion, diced
1 package polish kielbasa, diced
1 large chicken breast, diced
3 cups beef broth.
2 large cans diced tomatoes
5-6 potatoes, any type
3-4 carrots, or more to taste
1 large head broccoli
2 yellow straight-neck squash, sliced
2 teaspoons dry dill, oregano, basil (or more, to taste)
3 cloves garlic, minced, added at onion/meat stage -or- 1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder, added at broth stage.
salt and pepper to taste
optional: one head finely chopped green cabbage, but this will alter the flavor, and I prefer it without.

Plus: one huge honkin soup pot to put it all in

Place onion, garlic, sausage, and chicken in pot on medium high heat. brown meat, cook until onions are clear. Add beef broth, tomatoes with juice, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, squash, and seasonings to pot. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Proceed to eat, until your gut aches. Careful! It will be hot.