Friday, January 4, 2008

Guest Post From Rachel, The CHG Gourmet: Italian White Bean and Spinach Soup

Because I am a dorkus with a penchant for glossy paper, I get some of the food rags delivered to casa de la CHG Gourmet. Among others, Gourmet, Bon Appetit and Food & Wine all grace my doorstep monthly. Yes, I know I’m killing trees, but there’s something really satisfying about gawking at pretty, shiny pictures and getting to dog-ear pages; I suppose this is what comes of not getting to read enough Tiger Beat as an adolescent.

Of all these mags, Cook’s Illustrated is my clear favorite. I’ll go one further: I have a full-blown crush on CI. If I could personify it, CI would be the unattainable, hunky, early-30’s professor who knows just about everything and totally gets you. On the other hand, Cooking Light would be the smart-but-underachieving annoying back-row slacker with an undiagnosed case of ADHD.

Since CL can be so hit-or-miss, I’m floored when the mag does something right—and *boy* did it do something right. The November issue boasts a feature with Alexandra Jamieson, she of the vegetarian cookery and the Morgan Spurlock wedlock. Man alive, can that woman cook. Case in point: her delicious foods helped Morgan regain his girlish figure after his month of bodily abuse, courtesy of Mickey D’s. (And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, rent Super Size Me right this instant. Go. Now. I’ll wait.)

Anyway, Alex is the very definition of CHG standards. She’s big on making flavor paramount, sacrificing fat, and proving that it can be done on a shoestring. In any event, that wily minx actually convinced me to try a CL recipe, and boy, am I glad I did.

Alexandra Jamieson’s Italian White Bean and Spinach Soup (adapted slightly for my pantry)
Makes 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
Adapted from Cooking Light.

1 1-oz. package of dried shiitake mushrooms [Note: Kris and I joined Coscto several years ago, and purchased a mammoth bag of dried shiitakes for next to nothing. This is a great use for those bulk buys.-Rachel]
2 cups boiling water
2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chopped fresh spinach, or 10-16 oz. of frozen chopped spinach
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 15.5 oz. can of cannelloni beans or Goya small white beans
14 oz. of organic vegetable broth
Kosher salt to taste

1) In a small bowl, mix mushrooms and boiling water. Cover and leave about 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid. Once mushrooms are drained, chop them up and set aside.

2) In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook 5 minutes, until onions are soft and mushrooms are tender. Add reserved mushroom juice, spinach, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, beans, and broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to medium-low, and simmer about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Serve with thyme and a little red pepper.

Cooking Light’s Nutritional Breakdown:
CALORIES 78 (22% from fat); FAT 1.9g (sat 0.3g,mono 1.1g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 2.8g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 42mg; SODIUM 261mg; FIBER 2.9g; IRON 1.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 13.5g

Approximate Calories, Fat, Weight Watchers Points Value, and Price per Serving
78 calories, 1.9 g fat, Points Value: 1

1-oz. dried shiitake mushrooms: $0.58
2 tsp. olive oil: $0.06
1 cup chopped yellow onion: $0.20
2 garlic cloves, minced: $0.10
16 oz. of frozen chopped spinach: $1.49
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary: $0.25
¼ tsp. dried thyme: $0.05
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper: $0.01
1 15.5 oz. can Goya small white beans: $0.69
14 oz. of organic vegetable broth: $0.30
Kosher salt to taste: $0.01
TOTAL: $3.74
PER SERVING (TOTAL/6): 78 calories, 1.9 g fat, about $0.62

Stumble Upon Toolbar


kazari_lu said...

I just found your blog, and I love it. Thanks for this recipe... but i look forward to reading heaps more in the new year!

Also, know all about 'projects'. My christmassy excess usually involves gingerbread, and shortbread, and... anyway.
Happy New Year!

Kris said...

Thanks so much--I'm sure Kris will be thrilled to hear it! I'm just a guest-posting squatter until she returns from India, but I'm happy to do her proud in the meantime.

And ha! on the "project" front. I wonder if there's some sort of 12-step program for us holiday -breaders...?

Rachel, posting on behalf of Kris

Ginger said...

I decided to make my own beans for this, it took me about 6 hours to make, but only 5 minutes to eat a bowl. I'm going to add some cooked rice to it tomorrow for lunch.