Wednesday, 22 February 2012

rosemary minestrone - no croutons required

there's something comforting about knowing you have the power to create a wonderful and warming bowl of soup out of the most basic of ingredients and i'm talking about tinned tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions and cabbage... nothing fancy here... and I have to say that if your a little empty of wallet you couldn't ask for a better way to fill up with wholesome goodness than this...

... Jacs brilliant No Croutons Required challenge this month is all about herbs, which is rather timely as i've just written an article all about the herb garden at Gunby Hall for the brilliant Good Taste Magazine, run by the lovely folk over at Tastes of Lincolnshire.  This free bi-annual magazine comes out in a couple of weeks and i'll post the article then... but writing it has inspired me to punch up the flavour of this soup with an extra sprig or two of my favourite herb Rosemary... 

... whilst it has quite a strong scent and flavour Rosemary can be used in so many ways and compliments so many dishes that I seem to be always using it... it works really well roasted with carrots and potatoes and I think there should be a law out against people who don't use it when cooking mushrooms... the fact that it grows all year round means there should always be a fresh, if dwindling supply in my garden... my pot is outside the back door so even if its the worst of weathers outside I can just open the door a crack and pull off a stem or two!

... rosemary works especially well when crushed with garlic and salt, which I have done here to make the base of this minestrone... sauted gently with the onions and the whole pot is infused with its gently heady aroma...

rosemary minestrone
1 onion - finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic 
2 large stems of rosemary - works out to be about a tablespoon of leaves
1 stick of celery - chopped
1 large carrot - chopped
half a savoy cabbage - chopped
1 450g tin of chopped tomatoes
a handful of left-over fine green beans (optional)
a large handful of teeny tiny pasta (any shape)
2 pints good veg stock

- on a wooden chopping board, finely crush the garlic with the back of a large knife, incorporate the rosemary leaves and a large pinch of sea salt as you crush

- melt a large knob of butter and a dash of olive oil in a casserole dish and gently saute the onions and garlic, till soft and your house smells like a bordello

- add the rest of the hard vegetables, stir and pop the lid on to sweat for 5 mins

- add the tomatoes and stock and the beans and cabbage and simmer gently for at least an hour... throw in the pasta after 40 minutes... if you can make this in the morning and not eat it until the evening then all the better.

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. This wonderful recipe approximates something that is called "Granny John Soup" in our house - basically any red-coloured soup with any pasta/beans/veggies/herbs that come to hand. Poor Granny (who is not called John - long story) ends up making it every time she stays with us, in desperation for a meal when I've forgotten to plan. And it's always delicious.

  2. If I make this soup this morning I don't think I'll be able to wait until this evening for it - I'd have to have some for lunch as well.

  3. Gorgeous looking soup and first class photo! The combination of rosemary and mushrooms is a new one on me. Must try it next time I have some rosemary. oh and thanks for entering :)

  4. A nice bowl of comforting soup would be welcome right now. There seems to be a chill here by the computer today.

  5. Ooh, I love how hearty and warming that looks. My parents have a huge rosemary bush in their garden and in summer my dad cuts of some of the really thick woody stems and and puts them on the hot coals of the bbq whilst he is cooking. Utterly delicious!

  6. I find that Rosemary is a difficult herb to use well. If you're not careful it can dominate everything else in terms of flavour, and unless you use really young leaves they can be tough and chewy. Having said that, if used sensitively it is lovely! (and as you point out it goes brilliantly with garlic - and lamb)

  7. Always a fan of minestrone soup...with a few slices of garlic bread, this would make a great lunch for me.

  8. Dom, I just learned something new because I didn't know rosemary grew all year round. That means I should invest in a plant and grow it myself (instead of buying packs from the grocer). And I love the comment about mushrooms - you're absolutely right!

  9. wow this looks absolutely amazing but then again everything here looks amazing! I've always had rosemary and potatoes but not with mushrooms, will definitely try it now!

  10. I regret to say I am about to boycott any sites that use these "read the letters" techniques. It is so unnecessary and extraordinarily difficult to accomplish. This is my last attempt. It's a real shame because your food is so appealing.

  11. Looks great Dom, love the flavour of rosemary.

  12. I have been a fan of minestrone for as long as I can remember. I can remember my own kids when they were little gobbling up bowls of this with garlic bread. I usually use thyme, oregano and basil in mine. I'll have to give rosemary a try. The long bread sticks compliment the soup.

  13. @StephenC Hey Stephen... you've left a really extraordinary comment on my blog about 'read the letters' technique which I don't understand at all... can you explain?... i'd hate to lose you as a reader of my blog. If you're talking about the word capcha phrases to prove you're not a robot, you have this on your blog too!

  14. Not sure about the breadsticks; I'd go crusty white bread and butter anytime. Or were you just being arty in your photograph? - in which case nice-artyness, its a good photo!

    I'd love that soup, all that Rosemary; nice. The Wife's not keen on the rosemary so I'll look upon this one admiringly.

  15. Nice spice, i think its so delicious if i have more budget i can make it more and more delicious but i think this recipe is enough so i guess i go for this. good luck and im looking forward for the next post :)

  16. Glorious soup, Rosemary is one of the few herbs that will grow in our garden and I keep forgetting to use it!

    Now hoping captcha is off!!!

  17. How coincidental I've just done my random recipe challenge and it was Minestrone soup!...I won't be publishing it for a couple of days though...

    I love herbs especially rosemary and thyme...I can't wait to read your article about the Gunby Hall herb garden. It sounds wonderful.

  18. I adore's my "go to" herb for sure! Never had it in minestrone before.. can't wait to try it!

  19. Hi Dom!!!!!! Long time since my last visit! How are you??? This minestrone looks yummy!!! Never had it before with rosemary,,,,I must try it!!

  20. FAB! You know how much I love a good soup and also herbs, so this is JUST my kinda soup!

  21. I LOVE soup! This is what I need first thing tomorrow morning :)

  22. Rosemary is such a great herb - it grows so easily and is very hardy. I love the smell on my hands and in the linen cupboard and have even put it in bread. This soup is a definite winner!

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