Keeping the Feast: soup to nourish the body on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
The Holy Season of Lent is a time when folks may be looking for tasty, easy-to-prepare meatless meals. Over the years, The Monitor’s freelance writer Lois Rogers has created a library of meals in her Keeping the Feast column.
Dad was a very creative cook and he enjoyed inventing pasta dishes and soups, especially before Easter to lighten mom’s load as she concentrated on creating the classic and long-awaited dinner when the family celebrated the Resurrection after Mass in St. Peter Church, Point Pleasant Beach.
While she concentrated on gathering and preparing the ingredients – the perfect roast loin of pork, asparagus fit for roasting, the makings of scalloped potatoes and the sugary finale, a homemade Easter bread set off on its platter by brightly decorated eggs – Dad would “go shopping” in the sizable closet of the back room in our Cape Cod house that served as mom’s pantry.
When bad weather was on the move toward the seashore town, she always lovingly reassured us that no matter how deep the snow or storm water, we could always “eat from that closet.” Truth be told, it was so well-stocked that dad never had any trouble rounding up most of the ingredients for his favorite minestrone and making a bountiful stock pot full that traditionally first hit the table on Holy Thursday before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and warmed stomachs again on Good Friday when, confidentially, it tasted even better.
The recipe for the substantial soup, which kept us kids going with no complaints throughout the Triduum, follows:
Good Friday Minestrone
6 cups vegetable broth
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes with its liquid
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 sweet onion (Vidalias were dad’s onion of choice), well chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 zucchini, chopped
1 cup string beans, chopped
1 cup each canned cannellini and
red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
1 Tbs. sweet butter
2 cups small pasta – elbow was always the favorite for this soup
Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.
Warm olive oil and the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat until blended but not brown. Once the butter and oil are blended, add the onion, minced garlic, carrots, celery, zucchini and green beans, tomato paste and salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are translucent – about 10 minutes.
Pour in the diced tomatoes and the cannellini and kidney beans, bay leaf, thyme and broth and pepper to taste. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then partially cover with a lid, allowing the steam to escape and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove the pot from the heat, take out the bay leaves and add the pasta about five minutes before serving so that it warms up. [[In-content Ad]]