Writing a blog is so often an exercise in wrestling with one’s own limitations. There are some limitations that can be easily fixed – spell check was invented for a reason, after all. There are others that may take time but can certainly be adjusted – I can always read books on writing to sharpen my skills (Bird by Bird is an all-time favorite).
But then there are things like inspiration, which is something that seems unfixable when you no longer have it. When I’m inspired writing comes easily, but recently I’ve felt like I’m at the bottom of a very dry well, praying for rain. I’m longing for the days when I struggled to get to sleep because my mind was alive with ideas. I try to throw in some humorous barbs that came so naturally in some posts but have now taken on the distinct tone of pandering.
Most likely the best remedy is that I listen to my inner voice more than I usually do. This post was originally going to be about how I hate the cold weather and like to eat soups like this when it is dreary outside (all true facts). But it was taking on a tone that felt disengenuinely “cute” and a was a little too peppy. So I finally gave in to the fact that I just wasn’t full of wit or humor today, and hopefully you lovely readers who for some reason keep coming back will still enjoy my writing (and please keep coming back, it is something that will forever keep me in high spirits).
Here are my honest thoughts on this soup: it’s delicious. It has smoked paprika in it, for goodness’ sake. (If you’ve never had smoked paprika, you should know that it makes ANYTHING taste better. Fact.) It’s hearty and full of veggies so you don’t have to feel bad about having second or third helpings. It requires a bit of chopping, sauteing and stirring which can be a lovely mediative therapy after a long day. And it really is good to curl up with on the couch on a dreary day. Please give it a try – and thanks for reading
White Bean Chowder
I am really into smooth soups and don’t normally like chunks of vegetables, so I made the decision to blend the soup before adding the beans and therefore didn’t worry about chopping everything very finely before cooking. However, if you don’t want a blended soup I would recommend chopping all of the vegetables and herbs very finely before adding them to the pot. Either way it will be delicious.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large stalk celery, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups dried white beans or cannellini beans, or 1 15oz can
- Salt & Pepper
- 2/3 cup half and half
If using dried beans, soak the beans 8 hours overnight. Drain, and then place in a large pot and cover with 1 inch of water. Simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in large pot, and saute the onions, celery, carrot and bell pepper until well softened, about 7 minutes. Add in the garlic, thyme and paprika and saute for 2 minutes more. Add in the flour and saute one minute more.
Now add in the vegetable stock, water, tomato paste and oregano. If you like a smoother soup, you can blend together the ingredients at this point. If you’re more of a chunky soup person, add in the bay leaf and beans as well. Simmer for about 20 minutes; longer if you want a thicker soup. Add salt and pepper to taste, and then stir in the half and half.