Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Other Way To Quick 'n' Easy: Can-Opener Minestrone

Leftovers are one way to quick 'n' easy cooking; today's recipe goes another route. Good Housekeeping's Quick 'n' Easy Cook Book (subtitle: time-saver dishes for today's busy woman) puts the secret to quick 'n' easy right in the title of this next dish:
Can-Opener Ministrone *
(Pictured on pages 34 and 35)

1 can condensed vegetable soup, undiluted
1 can condensed chicken-noodle soup, undiluted
1 can water (measure in soup can)
2 1-lb. cans kidney beans (drain 1 can)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup snipped parsley
Lots of grated Parmesan cheese

Combine vegetable soup, chicken-noodle soup, water, kidney beans, garlic and parsley. Heat until very hot. Ladle into soup bowls; pass bowlful of Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings

* Make 4 or 5 times recipe to fill electric fryer as shown in photo
The electric fryer in question is that Crock-Pot looking beastie in the lower left of the photo.

I'm hoping there's lots and lots of grated cheese. And that no one has high blood pressure issues -- there's a lot of sodium going on here, especially as we're keeping the liquid from one can of beans.

Really, making your own minestrone isn't a hard thing. This would certainly be quick... and easy... but you could use similar short cuts and end up with something that tasted a little less...canned. Try using drained and rinsed beans, frozen mixed veg, boxed stock, and dried noodles. And, you know, fresh herbs. And a tin of tomatoes.

I'll admit it -- I'm a bit of a soup snob. I love a good bowl of homemade soup. I love cooking up a big pot. I love the chopping. I love the simmering. I love how the whole house smells like someone gave a damn.

I will give you this, though: as long as there's a lot of cheese to be passed around, even the can-opener cookery soup will fill you up. The cheese shows someone gives a damn.

1 comment:

  1. American's Test Kitchen / Cook's Illustrated agrees with you on how to make easy minestrone:

    RECIPE: Easy Minestrone
    Minestrone is generally not an easy undertaking, given that recipes often call for homemade stock and at least 10 kinds of chopped vegetables. This version uses frozen vegetables and supermarket chicken broth for a fast, hearty weeknight meal. Frozen zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and beans are sometimes called an "Italian Blend," and can be found in your supermarket's frozen section. Small pasta shapes such as orzo and ditalini work best.

    Serves 4 to 6

    6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
    2 onions, chopped fine
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 cup pasta, dry (see above)
    1 (16-ounce) bag frozen vegetables (see above)
    1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
    Table salt and ground black pepper
    Bring broth, beans, and tomatoes to boil in large saucepan.
    Meanwhile, heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth mixture and pasta and simmer until pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
    Stir in vegetables and basil and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with additional olive oil for drizzling.