I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been cooking much. I felt like I had to break the takeout cycle for at least the beginning of this week, though, since we’re about to have an indulgent weekend in honor of Dr. O’s birthday. When I went back into the kitchen on Monday night, I had several recipe requirements: easy, tasty, fast, preferably healthy. It certainly hasn’t been soup weather in Denver lately (it was 74° on Monday!), but I had a soup recipe that fit the bill perfectly: North Woods Bean Soup from the January 2002 issue of Cooking Light. I first made it last winter, and the fact that I could easily recall how delicious it was made it worthy of a repeat. Here’s the recipe:
North Woods Bean Soup
Makes five 1 1/2-cup servings
1 cup baby carrots, halved
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 ounces turkey kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (6-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach leaves
Heat a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, and kielbasa; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes. Add the broth, Italian seasoning, pepper, and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
Place 2 cups of the soup in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Return the puréed mixture to pan. Simmer an additional 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Add the spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.
This soup is so good. It has so many of my favorite ingredients – turkey kielbasa, carrots, fresh spinach – and puréeing part of the soup makes it seem rich and hearty (instead of super healthy). This is another recipe where I need to go several rounds with the salt and pepper to get the taste I want (Cooking Light recipes are never salty enough for me!), but the extra effort is worth it. I’m not asking for cooler weather, but if it comes, I’ll just use it as an excuse to make another batch of this soup.
TIPS: This probably has more to do with the size of my carrot pieces than it has to do with the lower boiling temperature of water at high altitude, but I had to extend my initial simmering time (immediately after the broth was added) to 8 minutes instead of 5 minutes to adequately cook the carrots. I figured they wouldn’t purée very well if they were too firm.
Recipe link: North Woods Bean Soup