While I was in Oregon, I bought "A Homemade Life" and have made several recipes from it. This makes enough soup for the week. We like to have soup in the refrigerator to eat on all week. Buy or make some bread and you are set. We both love soups and make them often, especially in the winter. When the heat index reads 100+ it is hard to get in the mood for soup, but just turn up the air conditioner and enjoy!
Ingredients for the soup:
1 pound dried white beans, such as cannellini or marrow beans Molly recommends rancho gordo (http://www.ranchogordo.com/) but I just used white beans from the grocery store
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed under the side of a knife
3 fresh sage leaves
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
8 medium carrots, sliced into thin rounds
2 medium zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and sliced into 1/4- inch thick half-moons
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 pound Swiss chard (1 small bunch), stalks discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
3/4 pound green cabbage (about 1/2 of a medium head) trimmed and coarsely chopped
1-28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 Tablespoon salt
best-quality olive oil, for serving
finely grated Parmigiano-reggiano, for serving (optional)
Put the beans in a medium bowl, and cover them with cool water by at least 1 inch. Set aside at room temperature, uncover, for 6 hours or overnight. Drain the beans, and put them in a dutch oven or other 5qt. pot. Add the garlic, sage, leaves, and 10 cups of cold water. The beans should be covered with water by at least 1 inch. Place the pot over high heat, and bring it to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour. Skim away any brownish foam that rises to the surface.
While beans cook, start the rest of the soup. In a large (8qt. or more) pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes. Add the zucchini and broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Then add the swiss chard, cabbage, and tomatoes, cover the pot, and simmer gently, adjusting the heat as necessary, for 1 hour. At first, it will seem as though there is too little liquid for all the vegetables in the pot, but don't worry: the vegetables will give off a good amount of water as they cook, and it'll even out in the end. After 1 hour, add the cooked beans and their cooking water, discarding the sage leaves. Add the salt and stir well. Simmer for another 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently, until the beans and vegetables are very tender and the broth has taken on a creamy pale orange hue. Taste, and add salt as needed.
Serve with a hearty glog of good olive oil over the top of each bowl and a dusting of Parmigiano-Reggiano, if you like.
NOTE: Refrigerated, this soup will keep for up to a week, and it gets better with each passing day. It also freezes nicely.