The last few weeks have been absolutely nuts...many, many good things have happened, but it has been pretty exhausting, and has not left a lot of time for blogging. I have so many pictures to post! And unlike the great New York photo promise of last summer, this time I intend to follow through. Well, I guess "intend" is the operative word there too. At any rate! I have many pictures to post and stories to share. However, as I write this it is 10:59pm and I have 800 pages to read before book club for Sunday, so this post will be short and sweet. Luckily for you, short and sweet still involves many pictures of delicious food. I'd like to share one of my (two) new favorite dishes to make during the work week, from one of my absolute favorite bloggers Rebekka Seale. This is the kind of recipe that doesn't take a lot of brainwork, just a decent amount of chopping and stirring, but it culminates in a hearty, savory stew that truly leaves you satisfied at the end of a long day. Even though it can take about an hour to make, it's still a kind of zen cooking process - easy to do, easy to succeed, and easy to...eat? Yes, at the end of it, it is certainly easy to eat!You'll need: 1 box chicken stock (4 cups) / 2 celery stalks / 2 medium-large carrots / 1/2 white onion / 1 shallot / 2 cans white beans (I prefer cannellini) / 1 can chopped tomatoes / 1 large clump of fresh kale / fresh garlic to taste (I cheated and used chopped garlic from a jar, about 2 tablespoons full) / 2 eggs / 1 cup white wine / cinnamon, salt, pepper, olive oil.Look at how photogenic those eggs are! I don't know what it is, I love photos of eggs. I wonder if chickens are naturally even more photogenic, to give rise to such photogenic progeny. I should stop saying "photogenic" now, shouldn't I? Moving on...Chop the celery stalks, carrots, onions, and shallots into stew-sized pieces. Bigger than a dice, smaller than a... ok, small enough to fit in your mouth in a decent-sized bite.Chop chop chop!Left: shallot. Right: white onion. To me, a shallot just looks like a small white onion, but what are you gonna do. I'm just following the recipe here, folks! Maybe I should take a cooking class. I can be like Julia Child! She would know the difference between an onion and a shallot. At least shallot is fun to say - shallot shallot shalllll I stop now? Alright back to the cooking lesson.Chop chop chop! I am not Julia Child (yet) so I do not know the "proper" way to chop onions and shallots - I just try to get them as small as possible without smushing out all of the juices onto the cutting board. They need to be small enough so that they can be sautéed easily.Add a (generous) splash of olive oil to the bottom of your soup pot and sauté the celery, carrots, onions, and shallots until the onions & shallots are translucent (even the celery should look a little less opaque.) This will take about 10 minutes, maybe more - I think the key to this soup is letting the carrots and celery cook for long enough, in enough olive oil, that they can sufficiently soften up and won't be crunchy when you add the rest of the ingredients. They don't need to be drowning in oil, but I definitely use a good healthy dose of it when cooking this soup. And I accept it! My name is Maddy, and I use a lot of olive oil. While the chop mixture is cooking, cut the kale leaves off the stalks and put aside to add later. Don't forget to keep stirring the sautéeing things! Nobody likes a burned onion. Or carrot. Or teeny piece of celery.Now, open up the white wine. Go ahead, I'll wait! You should probably pour yourself a glass too, because the rest of this recipe involves a lot of stirring and waiting. Yep, there you go. So crisp and refreshing! I have recently learned my favorite white wine is Pinot Grigio, but you can use whatever you like. Maybe not a Riesling. Nobody should cook with a Riesling. Expert wine advice from me to you.When the onions have turned translucent, add your garlic & a couple dashes of cinnamon to the sauté mix. You really can't add too much cinnamon unless the top pops off and you accidentally dump out half the jar (not that this has happened to me with a peppercorn grinder, no no, definitely not. But I'm just saying.) Stir regularly - I have burned garlic before and it does not taste as good. Yuck.
When the garlic starts to become more obviously fragrant, add the white wine. Bring the wine-sauté mix to a simmer and let it cook for another 5-6 minutes. Again, this is a step where I'd rather overcook than undercook to ensure the finally result is more stew-y and less crunchy. So, sure, give it 7 minutes. Seven is always a good number. Prep your final step - open up those cans! Chicken stock, white beans, tomatoes. Bring out the salt and pepper from your spice rack. After the white wine mix has simmered enough, add the beans, tomatoes, stock, and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir and cover. Bring to an "active simmer" (Trademarked by me.) Let this new mixture cook for 30-35 minutes.In case you're not sure what "cover and let cook" means, here is some visual assistance. You're welcome!This picture accidentally happened but I like it so here you are. Towards the end of the cook time, poach or fry (clearly I'm a fan of frying since I don't yet know how to poach an egg - the horror! I must learn. But not this week.) an egg for each person having soup. When the soup has cooked down enough, serve in a laaaarge bowl, top with parmesan and an egg, and savor each salty, delicious bite. Seriously though, I've made this soup at least three times in the past two weeks. And then, I make enough to last at least 3 meals. I even made it today, when it was 75 degrees out and no woman in her right mind would make soup for dinner. I love it! I am obsessed. Thank you to Rebekka for bringing this scrumptiousness into my life. It's great to have a go-to meal for the work week that satisfies both my stomach and my urge to cook something fancier than avocado toast.
Do you have a favorite meal to make on your most hectic days? If you don't, try mine! Let me know how you like it.