Sick soup (autumn minestrone)

After my family left, we all got sick. Every single one of us except for my dad has either a cold or a sinus infection.

Sad face.

So, instead of resting on Sunday I ran errands, made this soup, and worked on orders. I can’t seem to help myself.

This recipe comes from the Moosewood Daily Special cookbook, which is just packed with comforting soups. I thought about subbing chicken broth in this recipe since I have so much in my freezer. But the cleanse taught me that veggie soups can have really great depth of flavor on their own, so I left it out. And it turned out to be the right decision.

I also added one thing I learned from Rachael Ray, which is to use the leafy tops of celery when you cook. They have lots of flavor (they’re the greenest part of the whole stalk).

This soup is super healthy, full of the vitamins you need when you’re sick, and it uses a lot of fall veggies that are cheap right now. I bought an acorn squash so ripe it looked like a little pumpkin.

I served this with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, but that’s totally optional. Add a chunk of crusty bread or some saltines and you’re good to go.

Autumn minestrone

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups peeled and cubed winter squash (I used butternut and acorn)
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 1/2 cups golden potatoes, cubed (skins optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 cups water (it called for 6 but I needed more)
4 cups chopped kale leaves
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add the squash, celery, carrots, potatoes, spices, and water, and cook them for another 10 minutes or so. Then add the kale and beans, turn down the heat if it’s bubbling too much, and simmer until everything is cooked through. It only takes about 20 minutes total, but I gave it probably more like 40 minutes just to let everything really blend together.

The only thing I might change next time would be to scale back a little on the kale. I have a thing about wilty greens — a little is fine, but I like the other veggies to be the focus.