Homemade minestrone seems intimidating especially when you use dry beans that you have to soak ahead of time before even making the soup. When it comes to soup, making it from scratch does take time, but most of the time is waiting for things to simmer. The actual cooking part isn’t overwhelming if you just take it step by step. This 4 step soup is one you can easily cook over the course of a few days, so you don’t have to spend a whole afternoon cooking if you don’t have time. Making homemade soup is gratifying for me because it is healthy and and a labor of love. It lasts in the fridge or freezer for a long time and deepens in flavor as it sits.
My mom makes soup and always makes extra for my family and my sister’s family. I am making this soup for myself, two families who just had babies, and my mom. As long as you are taking the time to make soup, you may as well make a big pot to share. You will love this comforting soup and it will help warm you up if you are freezing cold this winter. If you live somewhere warm please go outside on a long walk, enjoy the sun, and sit on a patio with a cocktail. My soup is awesome, but I would gladly trade places with you!
4 Step Minestrone Soup
For the beans:
2.5 cups dry Cannellini beans
12 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 cloves smashed garlic
For the soup:
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 oz. pancetta, sliced into pieces
3 cups total of chopped onions and celery
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 cups swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, liquid drained
10 cups chicken broth
fresh grated parmesan
drizzle of olive oil
Step 1: Soak the beans– Place beans In a large bowl with enough water to cover the beans by a few inches. They need to soak for 4-12 hours. Drain and rinse the beans.
Step 2: Cook the beans-Add the beans to a dutch oven and add bay leaves, garlic, and 12 cups cold water. Partially cover and simmer, stirring every thirty minutes for 1.5 hours. The beans will be tender and creamy but not mushy. Add salt. Drain the beans. Discard bay leaves. Reserve the liquid.
Step 3: Build the Soup: Add olive oil to a dutch oven. Add the pancetta and brown for 8 minutes. Take the pancetta out with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Add the onions and celery to the dutch oven with the oil. Saute for 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chopped garlic, rosemary, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir in for 1 minute. Add swiss chard, diced tomatoes, and 4 cups broth and simmer for 15 minutes until the chard is tender. Add cooked cannellini beans, 6 cups broth, and 2 cups reserved bean liquid. Add pancetta back in and add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Let soup simmer for 10 minutes. You can serve right away or cool down the soup and keep in the refrigerator for up to three days until ready to eat.
Step 4: Serve the Soup: To serve, ladle into a bowl. Garnish with basil, parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve hot. Serves about 8 servings.
*Soup is always better the day after you make it. Flavor intensifies as it sits.
*I buy pre chopped onion & celery at the grocery store to save time.
*You can cook the beans a day in advance.
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