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And the Winner of the Fall Soup and Stew Cook-off is…

And the Winner of the Fall Soup and Stew Cook-off is…

Thank you to all readers who submitted a soup or stew recipe for the HealthyFamilies BC Fall cook-off!

It was great to see such delicious and original recipes with vegetables as the main attraction. Over the past two weeks Dean and I poured over the recipes and settled on a winner…

Minestrone Soup by Project CHEF!

This soup has a mild fresh flavour and features a bounty of vegetables. I like the combination of ingredients but don’t feel like you have to stick to the vegetables listed – you can swap in whatever vegetables you have on hand. In our case, the store didn’t have any Swiss chard, so we used kale instead. This worked perfectly. The beans make the soup hearty but you could also add leftover cooked meat if you wanted. Our can of beans was larger than what the recipe called for but we just tossed them all in anyways. That’s the beauty of soup; you can be flexible, get creative and make it work for you.

This winning recipe was submitted by Project CHEF, a not-for-profit program that teaches kids in elementary schools about healthy food. Through the program they learn about where food comes from, what it tastes like, how to prepare it, and how to enjoy it and share it. The instructions for the recipe are written for students so they are simple, stepwise and detailed – it would be a great one to try making at home with your kids.

In the version below, we modified the recipe instructions for the home cook and made a few minor changes based on our experience testing the soup. We liked this soup served with parmesan cheese on top. Other ways you could play with the flavours and make it your own would be to add extra garlic or rosemary or a few chili flakes for some heat. Next time I make it, I’m going to add a bit of chopped chorizo, which I think will give the soup a great smoky flavour (1 link chopped [60 g] added at the beginning with the onion). When I do this, I’ll decrease the salt (to ½ tsp) as the chorizo will add saltiness.

Thanks again and congratulations to Project CHEF! Next time you’re stumped about what to make for supper, try out this healthy, fresh soup and let us know what you think.

Minestrone Soup

Modified from the version submitted by Project CHEF

Makes 5-6 (2 cup/500 mL) servings

30 mL (2 tbsp) olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced or grated
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
5 mL (1 tsp) fresh sage, chopped
5 mL (1 tsp) fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Roma tomato, chopped
4 good sized Swiss chard leaves, torn into bite sized pieces
5 small new potatoes, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 can (398 mL) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 litre (4 cups) low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
5 mL (1 tsp) salt
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
60 mL (¼ cup) fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
30 mL (2 tbsp) Parmesan cheese (optional, for serving)

1.    Place the oil in a large soup pot and turn the stove to medium high heat. Heat the oil for a minute and then add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, sage and rosemary. Stir frequently until the onions are yellow and translucent.

2.    Add the tomato, Swiss chard, potatoes, zucchini, beans, stock, salt and pepper. Put a lid on the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Next, turn the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender when poked with a fork. This could be about 30-45 minutes. Add some water if the soup is too thick (we added 2 cups).

3. Stir in the parsley and serve each bowl topped with 1 tsp of grated parmesan cheese.

This recipe meets the Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in B.C. Schools (scored as a Mixed Entrée using the Checklist).

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