My "back porch" is my kitchen, my favorite room in the house. Come on in, the coffee is fresh, and I just made a pitcher of sweet tea. The cookies will be out in a minute. I have over 40 years of recipes to share with you, along with my opinion on everything. Oh my, you are right, it is cocktail time. What can I get you? Of course I can make you a Mint Julep! Stop by anytime, something is always cooking, and the back door is never locked.

Bon Appetit, Y'all

Friday, February 19, 2010

California Minestrone Soup

Well, I'm off to the grocery. Me and everyone else in a 20 mile radius because we are suppose to have more snow this weekend. If there is snow on the ground there has to be soup or stew on the stove.

The reason I call this California Minestrone Soup is because it is very uncomplicated, like most California cooking, good ingredients and plenty of herbs and spices. I've seen minestrone soup recipes with a list of ingredients that go on forever. All that is not necessary to have a fabulous soup. This is a thick soup - minestrone means "big soup". If you wish a thinner soup, add more liquid. A little red or white wine always enhances the flavor.

This will serve about 10 for dinner. If you don't have ten, it freezes beautifully.

California Minestrone
10 servings

3 quarts water
1 onion chopped
1-2 pound beef shank bone, or any other soup bone
3 ribs celery, diced
1 cup white great northern or navy beans, soaked over night
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh parsley, snipped
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt and pepper to taste or House Seasoning
2 medium sized zucchini, diced
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 10-ounce package frozen Lima beans
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup spaghetti (broken in 1-inch lengths)
Parmesan cheese and minced parsley for garnish

In a large soup pot place the onion, garlic, celery, and a splash of olive oil, saute about 3-4 minutes, not brown, add beans, beef shank, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer covered until the beans are tender, about an hour and a half. Remove the cover and add the zucchini, peas, limas, garbanzos, and spaghetti. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Before serving, discard the bone, mince the meat, and return it to the soup. Garnish each bowl with Parmesan cheese and minced parsley.

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