SOUP Sunday MINESTRONE grain vegetable soup recipe

MINESTRONE grain vegetable SOUP
An ever so flavourful bowl of greatness.

Open your fridge's veggie drawer and see what personality
is transformed into this very hearty vegetable grain soup.

Below, I'll give you my version of a no-fail to please 'minestrone'.
I keep it as simple as possible with lots of flavours and quality ingredients.
All working together to create wonderful pleasurable taste.

If you follow my recipe to the letter... 
 it will come out perfectly every time.

If you do not have every single ingredient on the list...
no worry either...just improvise with a few similar substitutes...
and you'll create your own successful signature minestrone.

MINESTRONE grain vegetable SOUP
Unbeatable comforting warmth.
Healthful goodness in every spoon
serves 8-10 persons

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Please note: If the ingredients are not mentioned as optional...it is best not to omit them.

(American / Metric measures)

Soup base:
. 12 cups (3 Litres) water in total
. 2 organic bouillon cubes (beef or chicken stock)
. 3 cups (700ml) Italian tomatoes (purée)
. 1/2 cup (100g) organic green lentils
. 1/2 cup (100g) organic brown 'basmati' rice
. 1/2 cup (100g) organic millet grain
Vegetables * :
. 1 medium chopped onion (Spanish preferred)
. 1 medium finely chopped leek (optional)
. 1/2 a small cubed rutabaga (optional)
. 2 medium cubed carrots
. 1 very small chopped fennel (optional)
. 2 medium chopped celery stalks
. 3 small chopped zucchini (middle part carved out...except for the  'Lebanese - baladi' kind)
. 1 cup (240g) mashed Butternut squash **
. 1 tsp. (5ml) minced garlic (1 big clove)
(I prepare this part a little ahead of time in a tiny bowl)
. 2 tsps. (10ml) sea salt,
. 1 tsp. (5ml) granulated garlic powder
. 1/4 tsp. (1ml) each of and the following dried herbs: basil, garlic powder, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon.  Lastly...a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
     note: Don't be concerned if you have only some of the above...be creative.
These are herbs that I always hold in my pantry and use quite frequently to enhance all my meals.

. olive oil (extra virgin)
. grated cheese...Parmigiano Reggiano

Total approx. prep and cooking time: 
60 minutes + 30 minutes resting time.

1. Prepare a large pot of cold water....Remember, you'll be adding more liquid with the tomato. Place the cover and bring it to a boil.
2. During the time the water comes to a boil...start soaking the lentils, rice and the millet into individual small-medium bowls.  You'll be soaking them for at least 10 minutes or so . They will later be rinsed and strained before adding to the pot.
3. When the water has come to a boil...add the 2 bouillon cubes...after they seemed to have diluted...add the tomato purée.
4. When the liquid has come back to a boil...add the rinsed lentils...wait 10 minutes more...add the rice...wait another 10 minutes and add the millet grain last.  Let another 10 minutes go by before adding the vegetables.
5. Now, add the chopped vegetables: onion, leek, rutabaga, fennel, celery, or any other suitable vegetable of your pleasing except for the softer faster cooking veggies.  Let it come back to a boil and then lower to MEDIUM heat.

6. Add the puréed squash and the minced garlic.
7. Add the seasonings from the list mentioned above or some other suitable choices.  Mix well.
. Wait at least 20 minutes before adding the soft vegetable such as the zucchini.  Mix them in well.
. Cover the pot and leave it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Note: I prefer minestrone that has a slight crunch to the veggies.  If you like them really well cooked...leave it boil a little longer to you preferred taste.

You can either serve the soup on its own or better yet...add a drizzle of quality olive oil throughout the soup with a good amount of shredded parmeggiano reggiano cheese.

Alright then, I hope you enjoyed
this version of a very
popular Italian vegetable soup ;0)

Warm comfort and flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

* Other vegetable variations...which are all interchangeable...let yourself go with whatever you'd like to use from your veggie drawer. Just try to guide yourself with the size of your pot.

Here are some examples:
1/2 cup small red or green cabbage
1/2 can of any type of bean
1 cup of celery rave
1 cup of chopped spinach, or kale, collard etc...
1 cup of chopped sweet potato

** Butternut squash:
Pre-roast the squash...mash it...use what you need and freeze the rest [usually about 1 cup (250ml) servings].

1. Place rack at the bottom level of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas 5.
2. Slice the squash in the middle and lengthwise for the long squashes.
3. Gut out the seeds and discard. 
4. Place each half, flesh down on a parchment covered cookie sheet.
5. Poke a few holes everywhere with the point of your knife.
6. Bake in the oven for about 30-45 minutes depending on the initial size of the squash.
7. Take the squash out of the oven and get ready to peel when it has reached a manageable handling temperature.
8. Mash the squash and use for the recipe and store the rest for future recipes.

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

The following RECIPE may also be of interest:
. SOUP Sunday_CHICKEN TOMATO potage soup