Friday, December 17, 2010

Fresh Soup Without Leaving the House!

So there I was, desperately trying to finish my manuscript due December 15th. Outside, the driveway was so icy that it made the short trip to the mailbox treacherous. I didn't want to change out of my comfy writing clothes. I didn't want to leave the house. But I wanted soup. Homemade soup.

Problem was - with my deadline, I didn't have a lot of ingredients to work with, nor time to search out a new recipe using what little I had on hand.

So...I improvised. My favorite thing to do in the kitchen. What follows is a relatively quick and easy recipe for soup that I will most definitely use again. I know it will never come out exactly the same, but isn't that the beauty of experimentation?

My husband and kids loved this. A broth-based soup rather than a cream soup, it's very fresh and full of flavor. Yum!

So, what did I have in the house to create this delicious concoction?
Here you go...


1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
8 cups vegetable broth
2 pinches rosemary
1 pinch ground white pepper
2 pinches oregano
2 bay leaves
1 16 oz bag of frozen vegetables, I used a "San Franscisco Blend" because that's what I had in the freezer.

So many good recipes start with sauteing onions and garlic in olive oil, so that's how this one begins. Once onions and garlic have softened and started to brown, add drained cannellini beans. Keep on low heat and stir occasionally.

While the beans simmer to soak up flavor from the onions and garlic, pull out a large soup pot. In it, combine broth, rosemary, pepper, oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for about an hour or so.

Add frozen veggies to beans/onions/garlic. Cook through.

Add veggie mix to broth. Remove bay leaves. Serve.

Easy as anything. And incredibly delicious. Nice and hot to chase the chill away.


Oh, and in case you're wondering whether I made my deadline - I DID!! Woo-hoo. Weirdly, even though I was under the gun writing it, this might very well be my favorite WHChef adventure yet.

Speaking of WHChef - my next newsletter will be coming out in early January, to coincide with the release of Buffalo West Wing. If you're not receiving my newsletters yet, please sign up today here on my blog or at my website.


  1. This sounds like my kind of soup! I like not having to go to the store and putting things in a recipe that I already have in my pantry. I was out all DAY in the freezing rain yesterday, and today I'm staying inside and eating SOUP! This sounds perfect, Julie, thanks!

  2. Oh this is my kind of recipe my son has surgery today and the last thing I am going to want to do is go shopping at the store. A great post at the right time :).

  3. That reminds me of my favorite minestrone recipe, that comes from a little paperback cookbook I think my sister gave me when I first moved into an apartment.

    It takes all day, so you've got to stick around the house. You start with simmering a marrow bone (um, yes, you have to plan ahead), and then every half hour or so you add something else, and then let it cook as long as you like. It's even better the second day.

    Congrats on making your deadline!

  4. It's a soup week! Love the anything in the house recipe. Out comes my slow cooker! Thanks, Julie, and I'm so excited to read your next WHC adventure!


  5. Congrats on making your deadline, Julie! That's the best feeling -- topped only by a new release. Only a few more weeks until Buffalo West Wing hits the store shelves. Looking forward to another Chef Ollie case. In the meantime, staying warm is the optimum plan. A bowl of your soup sounds good to me!

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. Elizabeth - brrr.... we were out in the freezing rain over the weekend and I feel your pain. Isn't it nice to be home?

    Babs - I hope everything is going well for your son. Please give him our best!

    Sheila - ooh, this sounds intriguing. I love "throw in whatever you feel like" recipes. My favorite!

    Avery - Soup week! LOL I think you and I are on the same wavelength more often than not!

    Cleo - Thanks. I'm thrilled to have turned it in, and you're right. BWW comes out in just a few weeks. I'm very excited to see what readers think of the new administration....

  7. Wow, you and Avery are really giving us some
    wonderful soup recipes. It's been cold and rainy here today, now I have to pick which one. Decisions, decisions...

  8. Jenn - why not make them both? LOL

  9. Thank you Julie I had to explain who everyone was and he said "Thanks to the ladies momma likes reading." I thought that was cute we are now home and I am about to make some soup for the family.

  10. Babs, that's darling. I hope he's on the mend.

    Julie, I imagine this is how a lot of great recipes came about. It sounds wonderful. Since the weather here has been more Chicago-like lately, I've made a big pot of chicken soup almost every week. Nothing like soup to take the chill off! Even if it's just steaming hot broth.

    ~ Krista

  11. Julie,
    I made a whole turkey feast earlier this week and put the carcass (doesn't that word just resonate with suspense?) in the freezer because I didn't want to toss it or deal with it at the time. You have inspired me to pull it out and "shop" my shelves tomorrow for a tasty homemade soup!!!
    Thanks so very much and our family wishes your family a blessed Christmas!!

  12. Krista - exactly. I just made more soup again last night. Totally different this time, of course, but nice and warm for these chilly days!

    Nanc - great plan! I love when I realize I have great ingredients around the house just waiting to be put to use!