Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day Veggie Soup

What, you didn't believe me when I said I like to do cheesy heart-shaped everything for Valentine's Day?!

Over the weekend, trapped in the house due to the blizzard, I figured soup would be a perfect way to stay cozy. I had seen this nifty heart-shaped carrot tutorial and knew I had to incorporate it. Once you get a hang of cutting the carrots, it really doesn't take too long to make. For long carrots, I'd recommend cutting them in half first so they're shorter and more manageable.

Since I also had butternut squash to add to the soup and I knew it would remain pretty solid throughout the cooking, I wanted to make them heart-shaped as well. The technique for these is a little different - cut fat slices of the top (skinnier) section. Cut each of these slices into 6 triangles, like you're cutting a pie. Make a notch in the top of each triangle and use your potato peeler to round edges into a heart shape. Slice into thin pieces like with the carrot.

This soup - whether you make heart-shaped carrots and squash or not - is hearty and filling and delicious! We all went back for seconds and even enjoyed it again the next day!

Heart-y Veggie Soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 slices of bacon, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, cut into heart-shaped slices (or diced)
3 celery stalks, diced
about 1/2 lb butternut squash, cut into heart-shaped slices (or diced)
28-oz can peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped, including juice
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 can cannellini (white) beans
3-4 large leaves of kale, chopped and stems removed

In a large pot, heat olive oil, then add bacon and cook until it begins to brown. Add onion, carrots, celery, and squash and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the veggies start to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes and juice, broth, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered until the veggies are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf, then stir in beans and kale. Serve once beans are heated through and kale is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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