How sexy is a man in the kitchen? Let me just say there is more than one way to think â€œhot.â€
For unknown reasons my husband decided he wanted to take on not one, but two, soup recipes. Did I fear my kitchen would never be the same again? Yes. After all, he has destroyed more than his share of potholders in recent days. (No details other than a sheepish shrug and a smoldering piece of blackened cloth, but at times not knowing the minutia is a blessing.) Did I suspect there would be clanging, lost items, the occasional swear word, and Band-Aids involved? Yep. Did I want him to make the soups? Abso-freakâ€™n-lutely.
When he showed me the recipes I was curious about his attraction to them. Chicken Soup with Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples? Hmmm. Ribollita? A soup with veggies and beans? Double hmmmm. I mean, I love veggies. Veggies good. But I love veggies with meat even more. What can I say? I’m an unapologetic omnivore.
In the grand scheme of things, and since he agreed to add chicken to the Ribollita (sorry Mr. Bittman), it took me all of two seconds to give my â€œuse the kitchenâ€ blessings.
You know what? Both soups were delicious. No cookware was harmed in the making of the recipes, I had a cooking-free weekend, and the leftovers are frozen for future meals.
One sexy, hot, creative husband? The best part of my nightâ€¦er, day.
Here are the recipes:
By MARK BITTMAN
Even vegetable stews can have more vegetables. This recipe adds a pound of kale â€“Â that’s right, a full pound â€“Â to softened onions, carrots and celery, combined with beans and tomatoes. It’s simply a matter of bringing the other vegetables together in a simmer, then adding the kale and topping with the toast. The whole dish bakes in the oven for a few minutes to brown the toast with a little Parmesan.
About 50 minutes
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans
- 1 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 1 fresh thyme sprig
- 1 pound chopped kale or escarole
- 4 large, thick slices whole-grain bread, toasted
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When itâ€™s hot, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Drain the beans; if theyâ€™re canned, rinse them as well. Add them to the pot along with tomatoes and their juices and stock, rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so the soup bubbles steadily; cover and cook, stirring once or twice to break up the tomatoes, until the flavors meld, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Fish out and discard rosemary and thyme stems, if you like, and stir in kale. Taste and adjust seasoning. Lay bread slices on top of the stew so they cover the top and overlap as little as possible. Scatter red onion slices over the top, drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.
- Put the pot in the oven and bake until the bread, onions and cheese are browned and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. (If your pot fits under the broiler, you can also brown the top there.) Divide the soup and bread among 4 bowls and serve.
Chicken Soup with Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples
Note: Sweet butternut squash and apples alongside the chicken and sautÃ©ed leeks make a great team and an interesting departure from standard chicken soup.
From Meredith Deeds.
- 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-in. cubes (about 5 c.)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, cleaned, then thinly sliced
- 6 c. low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-in. cubes
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 c. shredded cooked chicken
- 1/4 c. chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange squash on a large baking sheet, sprinkle 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat. Roast until just tender and brown in spots, turning occasionally, about 25 to 35 minutes.
Heat large pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and leeks. SautÃ© until softened, about 6 minutes. Add broth, squash, apples, thyme, bay leaves and remaining salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat 20 minutes. If you prefer a creamier consistency, mash the apples and squash against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add chicken and cook a few more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve hot.
Nutrition information per serving:
- Calories 285 Fat 11 g Sodium 390 mg
- Carbohydrates 23 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 79 mg
- Protein 26 g Cholesterol 60 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
- Diabetic exchanges per serving: Â½ fruit, 1 bread/starch, 3 lean meat, Â½ fat.