There are so many nights when I’m grateful for the work I put in at times when I don’t need to put dinner on the table in 30 minutes. Things like already cooked beans and a jar of veggie bouillon base and frozen, roasted tomatoes all add so much flavor. It’s not the time of year to be roasting tomatoes but the other two you can make anytime you have a bit of spare time.
In order to provide more tools for this kind of cooking I’m developing a new portion of my subscription-based Seasonal Recipe Collection that will feature posts on how to set yourself up for this kind of cooking–inexpensive, flavorful, quick as a result of some planning and forethought.
Last week, I had a few nights with very little time to get dinner ready. Luckily I had set out white beans to thaw, had a handful of roasted, frozen tomatoes lurking in my freezer as well as a spicy pork sausage. As usual I had some slightly has-been celery in the fridge. I always have onions and garlic and I had half a bunch of parsley.
These ingredients turned into a simple soup/stew topped with a garlicky parsley sauce. The beans, tomatoes and rosemary were so flavorful and rich I didn’t need the sausage at all (but my boys, big and small, love a little meat now and then). You can make it more brothy by adding more stock and/or bean cooking liquid, you can certainly add carrots or any kind of greens or other vegetables. You could toss in a handful of two of small pasta if that entices your eaters to enjoy it more. . .
White Bean and Tomato Stew with (or without) Sausage
1/2 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 spicy (or mild) pork sausage, cut into rounds
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
5 or so roasted, frozen tomatoes, chopped up, or 1 cup canned, roasted tomatoes (or just plain canned ones)
3 cups cooked white beans with their cooking liquid. I used Ayers Creek farm’s Zolfino beans (in case you’re local and have some on hand) or canned beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups bean cooking liquid and/or water or vegetable broth/veggie bouillon
about 1/2 bunch of parsley, tough stems removed, the rest finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced and mashed with a little salt on your cutting board
3-4 tablespoons good olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a soup pot cook the onion, celery, sausage and rosemary in a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the beans, cooking liquid and/or water or broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 more minutes. If you’re using canned tomatoes and water instead of broth let the soup cook for at least 15 minutes to concentrate the flavors.
Meanwhile mix the garlic with the parsley and olive oil.
Serve the soup with a generous dollop of the parsley garnish.