On these busy nights before the holidays, I like that I have a few homemade soups and homemade rolls or bread in my freezer. They are easy to defrost and heat and can be on the table in no time at all. This may be a quick dinner, but it is both nutritious and delicious.
Italian Escarole Bean Soup
This is one of our family’s favorite soups. I can remember my grandparents making this often and it seemed to be my grandfather’s favorite lunch. If you would like to make this soup vegetarian, it is easy to do. Swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili) for the dried sausage.
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups dried white beans (cannellini), soaked overnight in water to cover and drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 16 cups no salt added chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 heads of escarole, washed and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup chopped dried spicy sausage/salami
- 1 cup short pasta
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Parmesan cheese for serving
Heat oil in a large Dutch Oven and add the onions, celery and garlic. Cook until tender. Add the Italian seasoning and soaked and drained beans. Heat for a minute or two and add the broth.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cooked the beans for 30 minutes. Add the pasta, re-boil, lower the heat and cook for 15 minutes more.
Add the dried sausage, salt and escarole. Let simmer until the escarole wilts. Ladle into soup bowls and top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Sourdough Ciabatta Bread
I always have sourdough starter in my refrigerator that I keep in a crock, so it always available for baking. You will find that this bread will not puff up much in the oven. It will stay quite flat, like a slipper, hence its name (ciabatta means slipper in Italian). Ciabatta is one of Italy’s most delicious breads and it goes so well with soup. I like to make Ciabatta with a sourdough starter because it adds a nice tang to the bread.
- 1 cup sourdough starter removed from the refrigerator the night before baking and placed in a covered bowl
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 cups Italian 00 flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment combine the water, olive oil, yeast, sourdough starter, 1 cup of the flour and the salt. Stir in the remaining flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is the consistency of drop-cookie batter. Transfer to the dough hook attachment and knead the dough until it is smooth and satiny. The dough should be on the slack side, but not oozy; it needs to be able to hold its shape.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Place the bowl in a warm spot and let the dough rise, undisturbed, about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough gently and divide it into two pieces. Form the loaves into torpedo shapes, and place the loaves on a baking sheets dusted with flour and cornmeal. Cover with a damp towel.
Let the loaves rise until they look puffy. This should take approximately an hour. While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Brush or spray the loaves with water; a plant mister is good for this job. Bake for 10 minutes, spraying the loaves with water two more times.
Lower the oven to 375°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
November 9, 2015 at 9:09 am
Reblogged this on My Meals are on Wheels.
November 9, 2015 at 9:16 am
This looks delicious. I want to double check–the beans are raw, just soaked overnight, before adding to the soup? It doesn’t seem like enough cooking time. Your recipes always inspire and I can’t wait to make this one!
November 9, 2015 at 9:22 am
Yes, soak the beans overnight and cook in the broth about 45 – 60 minutes. If your dried beans are not old, they should be cooked in that amount of time after overnight soaking. After 45 minutes taste them and see if they are to your liking. I don’t like my beans mushy, especially in soup. Thank you for your excellent question.
November 9, 2015 at 9:39 am
This is lovely! saved to faves.
November 9, 2015 at 9:51 am
Thank you so much.
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
November 9, 2015 at 11:35 am
There is nothing like having soup available on a cold winter night!! It is just as easy to make a lot then just a little. And ciabatta bread is wonderful. I love making it and I’ve made it in a sourdough version. In fact, my poor sourdough needs to be refreshed. I’d better get to it. Thank you for reminding me. Great recipes.
November 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm
For sure Marisa – keep that sourdough going. Thank you for your comments.
November 9, 2015 at 1:38 pm
when do you add the sourdough?
November 9, 2015 at 1:41 pm
Thank you for catching my mistake. It goes in the bowl with the water and yeast. I’ll make the correction.
November 18, 2015 at 7:21 am
Wonderful sourdough bread recipe Jovina
April 20, 2023 at 9:00 am
Can you report how many servings this provides.
April 20, 2023 at 9:31 am
Carol this soup can serve 8 if you serve 1 cup per person of 4 if you serve 2 cups per serving. the soup also freezes very well. Serving size depends on you like.