Hearty Winter Vegetable and Bean Soup

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December 9, 2014

Hearty winter vegetable and bean soup is a delicious way to get an extra serving of vegetables in your diet.  This versatile seasonal soup can change based on what is available at your local market.  Serve this soup with a piece of crusty bread and a few shavings of nutty parmesan cheese.

Hearty Winter Vegetable and Bean Soup

Ingredients:

tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch dice
3 celery stalks, halved and then chopped into 1/4 inch dice
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
2 pinches of red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 1/4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 small (1 to 1 1/2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
1 turnip, peeled and cut into cubes
2 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 12 ounces), cut into cubes
1 head escarole, cut into 1-inch-thick ribbons
1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans, drained and rinsed*
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
shaved parmesan cheese, for garnish  

Directions:

Step 1: In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, red-pepper flakes, sage, rosemary and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and cook for 5 minutes or until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and water, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Step 2: Add the butternut squash, turnip and potatoes.  Reduce heat and simmer the soup, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Step 3: Stir in escarole and great northern beans, and raise the heat to bring the soup back to a boil. Cook for another 5 minutes and then remove the soup from the heat.  Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Serve with shavings of parmesan cheese.

Note*: Any white bean will work in this recipe.  White kidney beans, cannelini beans, and chickpeas all work wonderfully in this recipe.

Note**: This soup can be made in the slow cooker.  After you saute the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, red pepper flakes, sage and rosemary transfer the mixture to the slow cooker bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients (except the lemon juice, parsley and parmesan cheese).  Cook the soup on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

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