The festival of Sukkot is the beginning of soup season at our home, and this is just the right recipe to serve over the holiday, in the sukkah. It is flavorful and chock-full of fresh end-of-summer vegetables. I use a time-saving shortcut by using store bought chicken broth and canned beans, but nobody is the wiser.
This recipe makes a big pot that serves 8 people. If you’re having a smaller crowd this year, that’s OK. Make this recipe as is, freeze half, and save yourself some time down the road. The addition of beef fry and fresh herbs makes for a complex flavor, but this soup is not heavy and is perfect for the early autumn season.
The recipe is easy: you just chop, sauté and stir until all of the ingredients are combined. The vegetable measurements also don’t have to be exact. If you have fresh produce, and have a little more or a little less of my suggested amounts, just add it to the pot as is.
Tuscan White Bean and Vegetable Soup
4 ounces beef fry (It typically comes in 8-ounce packages. I use half and freeze the rest for later.)
3 cartons of store-bought chicken stock, 32 ounces each
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, about 3 cups diced
4-5 stalks celery, about 1.5 cups chopped
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large zucchini, about 2 cups sliced
3 large carrots, about 2 cups sliced
3 medium tomatoes, about 2 cups roughly chopped
2 big handfuls fresh spinach
1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, to your taste. If you love herbs, go with the full 2 tablespoons
3 strands fresh thyme
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
In a large stock pot heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Next, add the beef fry and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the meat does not stick to the bottom of your pot.
Add the sliced carrots, garlic and zucchini, and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Adding the vegetables in this order, as opposed to all at once, keeps them firm and allows the individual flavors to come out.
Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper and sauté for a few minutes more before adding the rinsed and drained cannellini beans and the chicken broth.
Bring to a moderate boil over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes, before turning the heat down to low.
Simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Remove the leftover thyme strands before serving into bowls.
An additional tip is to plug an electric crock pot into your sukkah and serve the soup from there. It’s much safer than carrying hot bowls in and out of your home. Enjoy this recipe and have a beautiful holiday! PJC
Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.