Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Day Potato, String Bean and Tomato Peasant Soup

Alright. You caught me. I'm acting as if this soup is representative of the Irish Tradition of St. Patty's Day. Well, it's not. The only thing Irish about it is the green color of the string beans and the addition of potatoes, but I have decided to post it anyway.

This inexpensive, hearty soup will be great for helping with a hangover, so I suggest making a batch and freezing some to always have it on hand. I use the word hearty in the most sincere of ways here. People often use "hearty" to describe soup, but this time, this soup lives up to the word, meaning to provide abundant nourishment. The potatoes fill you up, the string beans create a nice texture and crunch, and the tomatoes, cooked with garlic and olive oil, aids in the creation of a well-balanced, simple, yet tasty broth.

The soup pairs well with beer bread. Hints of beer will flutter around in your mouth with each crunchy bite, creating the perfect St. Patrick's Day treat. I simply purchased a beer bread dry mix, mixed in a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale, poured some melted butter over the batter, and cooked it for 55 minutes in unison with the cooking of the soup.

Peasant Soup
Serving Size: 12
What You'll Need:

*1 Large can Crushed Tomatoes
*1 tbsp Tomato Paste
*3 Cloves garlic, smashed
*1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
*Water to fill 2 large pots
*1 pound string beans, cleaned and snapped in half
*Approx. 10 medium-sized potatoes, cleaned and cut in 4 (make sure every piece is approx. the same size to ensure proper cooking)
*1 1/2 tbsp plus 1 tsp Salt
*2 bay leaves
*1 pound medium pasta shells

*Heat large pot over medium-high heat
*Add olive oil and heat for 1 minute
*Add garlic and move around pan for 1 minute, making sure not to brown
*Remove garlic from pot
*Add tomato paste
*Move around pan for 1 minute with wooden spoon, slightly browning the tomato paste
*Add can of crushed tomatoes and stir to incorporate mixture
*Fill up pot with cold water
*Set heat to high and bring to a boil
*Once boiling, add 1 1/2 tbsp. salt, bay leaves and potatoes
*Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often
*While the potatoes are cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and add tsp of salt
*Add pasta shells to boiling pot of water and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
*Add cooked pasta to soup mixture with string beans and cook for 5 minutes
*Remove bay leaves and serve

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