Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hearty Peasant Soup

     If you've never tried Broccoli Rabe, it's a bitter, strong flavored, leafy vegetable often used in Southern Italian cooking.  Loaded with vitamins A, C, K and iron, Rabe, or Rapini, is not only good for you but adds a boatload of flavor to this simple peasant soup from Whole Living.  When I see Rabe in the produce aisle, I can't help but take a whiff of it's biting aroma, like cilantro, I'm addicted to the smell.  The sweet balsamic vinegar adds the perfect balance to this pungent green.  If you can't find Rabe you could also substitute another boldly flavored green or even a bag of baby spinach.  This has the makings of a good camping recipe, except for the cheese, none of the ingredients require refrigeration. It barely squeezed into my 10 inch dutch oven, would probably opt for my 12 inch oven next time around.  I sauteed the onions over a full compliment of coals, then once I added the rest of the ingredients, added 22 briquettes on the lid.  In 20 minutes the steam was pouring out from under the lid and the soup was done.  The original recipe calls for 4 cups of water but I only added 2 and there was plenty of liquid to keep it soupy.  Good for you, low in calories, easy to make and perfect for camping, it's a dutch oven keeper.
     Just a quick tip, if you can find garlic in a tube, I have found it's a great time saver and an excellent way to simplify your meal preparation.  I use the Amore brand from Italy, not as strong as freshly chopped garlic but the convenience more than makes up for the milder flavor.

Hearty Peasant Soup
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tblsp tomato paste
2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar, plus more for seasoning, if desired
2 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes in juice
2 14 1/2 oz. cans cannelini beans OR chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 bunch (about 1 pound) Broccoli Rabe, cut crosswise 1 inch thick and well washed, with water still clinging to the leaves

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over a full compliment of coals until softened, 4-5 minutes.
     Add tomato paste and vinegar; cook, stirring frequently, until slightly darkened, 2-3 minutes.
     Add tomatoes (with their juice), beans, Broccoli Rabe and 2 cups of water.
     Cover and cook with enough coals on the lid to keep soup at a steady simmer.
     Continue cooking for 15-20 minutes or until Broccoli Rabe is tender.
     Season with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
     Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
     Makes 4 servings.

Saute onion and garlic over a full compliment of coals

Stir in vinegar and tomato paste

Add rest of ingredients

Just fit in my 10 inch oven

Simmer for 20 minutes or until greens are tender

A hearty, healthy, peasant soup, and your Vegan friends will love it too


  1. That looks AWESOME and I can almost smell it too! :)

  2. One of the few things on here you don't have to feel guilty about eating Sassy, hope you are well! Liddy