It’s absolutely gorgeous outside and I can’t stop myself from checking what produce has sprung up from our area this week. I wasn’t sure what to expect while considering all the randomly warm weather we’ve had here throughout the last two weeks. It’s pretty crazy. Before you know it, eggplant and zucchini will be in full bloom! That’s completely wild, given the multiple feet of snow we had on the ground last year at this time. So I walked into the market, open-minded. You never know what you’re going to get in the middle of March, nearing the first day of Spring.
Omnipresent at the market, was that beautiful broccoli rabe. So, obviously, that’s what I used most of for this soup, followed only by green beans, since they were surprisingly awesome in both looks and taste, that day. In a few weeks, asparagus, peas, and spring onions will be popping up in all their deliciousness, so you might want to use a combination of those instead, if they’re available and perfect-looking. I used less of those this time around, since they weren’t quite ready here yet. But, if you live in a sunny, warm, beautiful place year-round where you don’t have to consider these things as much as when you live in the sticks outside of New York…good for you! If that’s the case, then just get whatever you like the best.
That’s the beauty of soup, in my opinion. It’s the easiest, most nutritious way to just combine the best of the moment, in produce. Plus, it’s just good. Even my kids love soup, so it must be a crowd-pleaser. I also made some no knead bread, sliced it and rubbed it with some garlic then melted some provolone over it and topped it with some fresh herbs and yellow cherry tomatoes, just to add a little heartiness to the meal. It was fantastic and a definite hit at our dinner table, just two days before the very first day of Spring.
Spring Minestrone Soup
- 3 cups basic mirepoix (chopped onion, celery, and carrot)
- salt & pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
- 3-4 spring new potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 3 cups, chopped, broccoli rabe and greens
- 1 cup, trimmed and chopped, green beans (substitute peas and/or fine asparagus tips, if desired)
- 15 ounces, fully cooked, red beans (or one can, drained and well-rinsed)
- scallions or ramp, trimmed and finely sliced (about 1/4 cup)
- fresh basil leaves and flat leaf parsley, chopped (about a handful of each)
Place stock pot over medium-high heat. Drop mirepoix into bottom of pot and sprinkle with salt and pepper to sweat. Stir mirepoix occasionally until onions are translucent, then add olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic. Pour in stock, then drop the potatoes into the pot and stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil until potatoes are tender, then add broccoli rabe, red beans and green beans. Once greens are wilted, add scallions or ramp and finish with basil and flat leaf parsley. Stir to combine and season to taste.