Why we love this recipe:
Every time we make this soup, we prepare a double batch. This soup is so good we often serve it as a first or second course when we have dinner guests. (*Note: The Italian flavour profile makes this the perfect soup to serve before a pasta course) And since it’s excellent re-heated making it ahead of time takes some of the pressure off when preparing a meal for friends. They get something tasty to whet their appetites while we prepare other dishes. This makes entertaining much more relaxing for us. All that said, it’s also hearty and tasty enough to have as a main with a nice big chunk of crusty Italian bread!
No Waste Kitchen:
Parmesan Rind: Start saving those parmesan rinds! Cheese rinds are the outside shell, and too many people simply discard them. This is almost tragic. Parmesan rinds are rich in flavour; they can be used to flavour soups and sauces. This soup is prepared with parmesan rinds, which infuse the broth with flavour. It’s amazing! We always have a little zip lock bag in the freezer where we keep our parmesan rinds until we’re ready to cook with them. As far as we can tell, they keep for many months without losing their flavour punch.
Canning Liquid: If you’re using canned cannellini (white kidney) beans (which are a perfectly acceptable substitute for rehydrated, cooked dry beans - see below), don’t throw out the canning liquid. Give it a taste; if the liquid has a rich, “beany” flavour (not metallic or bitter), by all means, add the liquid with the beans to the slow cooker. This adds flavour and makes for a thicker broth.
Bean Liquor: If you find yourself cooking dry white kidney beans for other recipes, save the cooking liquid. There’s a reason it’s called bean liquor. It’s a great flavour booster. We always freeze the strained liquid for future use in other soups and sauces. We also substitute up to ⅓ of the broth for this recipe with white kidney bean liquor.
Use the excess rosemary: If you bought rosemary just to make this soup and find yourself with a bunch of rosemary and no immediate use for it, use it right away to create a beautiful herbed oil. When you reheat the soup, drizzle each individual serving with a little bit of oil just before serving. This is not only tasty - it’s really pretty! This is also a delicious way to flavour chicken dishes.
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Cook Book: Better yet, buy their cookbook: “The Slow Cooker Revolution”. It’s worth it! There are a lot of great recipes, and it has all the same information to help you learn from each recipe to improve your overall cooking skills. You can get it on Kindle of $18 or directly from the Test Kitchen bookstore, where it’s currently on sale for $11 ($26 at the regular price)