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How to make a pot full of 'magic' minestrone soup

Minestrone with green beans, sweet and russet potatoes

Minestrone with green beans, sweet and russet potatoes and kale. Credit: Marge Perry

It may be impossible to over-promise the rewards of this minestrone. A mug of it with a grilled cheese sandwich makes a perfect (and perfectly well-balanced) lunch; a hearty bowl, topped with grated Parmesan, is a deeply satisfying dinner with an impressive array of flavors and textures.

Perhaps the real magic of this soup is its ability to deliver, in one bowl, a nutritional powerhouse. Few foods we eat are so densely packed with immunity-supporting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. And who couldn’t use that right now?    

There are all sorts of ways you can make this soup your own.

•    After it has simmered an hour, stir in three 15-ounce cans of drained, rinsed cannellini beans.

•    Replace the kale with savoy cabbage.

•    Add 1 cup dry orzo (or other small pasta shape) 20 minutes or so before serving.

The soup freezes very well. (I like to pack it up in lunch-sized portions.) It also keeps perfectly in the refrigerator for several days, and can be heated up equally well on the stove or in the microwave. It doesn’t seem to suffer at all after several changes in temperature, which means you can reheat and re-refrigerate it several times. Clearly, this soup earns its moniker.

MAGICAL MINESTRONE

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)

2 carrots, cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)

2 celery stalks, cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)

3 garlic cloves, minced

12 ounces green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces

8 cups chopped kale

12 ounces sweet potato, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch pieces

12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch pieces

6 cups unsalted vegetable or chicken broth

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1.Heat the oil in a large (8-quart) pot over medium high. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until somewhat softened, about 4 minutes.

2. Add the green beans, kale, and potatoes, tossing often until the kale is wilted and brightly colored, about 5 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes; cover and simmer 1 hour.

Makes 8 servings.

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