It's still hot here in Arizona, but the official first day of fall has passed.
Why not kick off Soup Season?
Making soup is so simple, virtually foolproof. Dump ingredients (or even leftovers) in a pot, simmer for a few hours and voila you come up with something savory and comforting. Plus, they always seem to make the house smell warm and inviting.
This year I plan to branch out and try an Asian meatball soup my cousin created and a chicken & dumpling soup from my husband's side of the family. But the first soup of the season is usually my tried and true veggie and bean soup with croutons and this year was no exception. This recipe originally came from Sunset magazine, but I've made a few changes of my own.
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
32oz chicken broth
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 bunch kale, chopped
1/2 loaf rustic wheat bread, chopped or torn in 1 inch cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
shredded parmesan cheese
1. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Stir in broth and beans, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and kale and simmer another 15 minutes, covered.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Lay bread pieces on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toast in oven until slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Set croutons aside.
3. Just before serving, add basil and cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Divide soup among serving bowls and top each with a few warm croutons. Grate parmesan directly over soup if you like.