A Classic Minestrone Soup Recipe – The Heartiest of Soups

Jan 13, 2021 | Recipes

There is no right or wrong way to make Minestrone. The basic idea behind it is that you take some broth, add a pile of vegetables, pasta or rice, beans, and maybe a bit of meat and cook it all together. Really, it’s about using what you have on hand and what’s in season. Minestrone is not meant to be an overly complex soup in terms of ingredients or flavour. The majority of the flavour comes from the vegetables and the broth rather than a large variety of extra seasonings, though those can be added if you’d like. If you want a simple soup that will fill you up and empty your vegetable crisper, look no further. This is Minestrone, now let’s get to it.


Making Chicken Broth

First and foremost, you can use a store-bought broth if you want. But, I should demonstrate how to make this soup from scratch. The first step in doing that is to make the broth. Take four chicken legs (thigh and drum), put them in a large pot and cover them with three litres of cold water. Put the pot on the stove, bring it to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for two hours. While the broth is simmering, skim it every once in a while to remove any skum that floats to the top. Turn the heat off, let the pot cool for about half an hour, then put the whole thing in the fridge to cool overnight. The next day skim the fat off the broth’s surface, take the chicken out, set it aside, and strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any excess fat or pieces of chicken. Pull the chicken meat off the bone and set it aside. Discard the bones and skin, and you are ready to make Minestrone.


Base Ingredients

The first few ingredients for Minestrone are onion, garlic, celery and carrot. See the recipe at the end of the post for measurements. The carrot, onion, and celery should all be cut about the same size. The garlic should be thinly sliced.

Cans

I wanted this soup to be very substantial, so I used both white beans and chickpeas. You can use one or both. I’ll leave that up to you. Also, use one can of diced tomatoes, along with the liquid in the can.

Additional Minestrone Ingredients

The final few ingredients are potatoes, green beans (you can use peas if you’d prefer), pasta (cooked), Italian seasoning, a bit of crushed red pepper flakes, and the chicken, which was picked off the bones. Now that we have all that sorted, we can make the soup. For the pasta, I used gluten-free penne. You can use regular penne, obviously. I cut the noodles in half once they were cooked just so they weren’t quite so big. You can do the same, leave them alone, or use smaller pasta. The choice is yours.


Making The Minestrone

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add in two tablespoons of olive oil along with the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. We can add it all at once because the goal isn’t to brown the vegetables (in which case the garlic would burn before everything else). We only want to sweat the vegetables. I mean that we only want to cook the vegetables until they start to release moisture into the pot. This will take four to five minutes, then the chicken broth is added. About thirty seconds before adding the broth to the pot, add in the red pepper flakes.

Step 2

Once the broth is in, add the tomatoes and their liquid, the potatoes, Italian seasoning, and a big pinch each of salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to high and bring the pot to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes.

Step 3

Add the chickpeas and beans into the pot and boil for another five minutes. If you are using fresh or frozen green beans, add those in now as well. If the soup stops boiling when these ingredients are added, bring it back to the boil, then cook for five more minutes after that.

chickpeas and white beans

Step 4

When I made this soup, I had a pile of cooked green beans leftover from the previous night’s meal. I didn’t want to waste them, so I used them in the soup instead of fresh ones. Becasue the green beans were cooked, I added them in at the same time as the cooked pasta and chicken. As I said in the previous step, if you are using fresh or frozen green beans (or peas), add them along with the chickpeas and white beans.

Once the chickpeas and beans have cooked for five minutes, add the pasta, green beans, and pulled chicken to the pot, then turn the heat off. Stir those ingredients into the soup and give it a taste. You will probably need to season it with a little more salt and pepper. Then serve.


Minestrone

A Classic Minestrone Soup Recipe

Minestrone is a very substantial soup that will fill you up and give you energy for the rest of the day. It is loaded with vegetables, beans, chickpeas and more. You can't go wrong.
Prep Time: 1 day 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Canadian, Italian
Keyword: hearty soup series, Soup
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Chef’s Notes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken legs drum and thigh
  • 3 L cold water
  • 1 1/2 L chicken broth Made using the chicken legs and cold water or store-bought.
  • 1 cup cooked and sliced penne
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp sliced garlic
  • 1/4 c sliced celery
  • 1 cup diced potato
  • 1 cup green beans cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 540 ml can White Beans
  • 796 ml can diced Tomatoes
  • 540 ml can Chickpeas
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Broth

  • Put the chicken legs in a large pot and cover them with three litres of cold water.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for one hour.
  • Let the pot cool to room temperature then put in the fridge overnight.
  • Skim the layer of fat off the surface of the broth then strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Pick the chicken off the bones and discard the skin bones. Set aside.

Soup

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add in the olive oil, onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook for five minutes.
  • Add red pepper flakes, cook for 30 seconds, then add in the chicken broth, tomatoes, potatoes, Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Turn up the heat and bring the pot to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add in the chickpeas, beans and green beans and boil for five more minutes.
  • Add the pasta and cooked shredded chicken. Remove the pot from the heat. Taste the soup and season it with salt and pepper as needed.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Conclusion

You will be hardpressed to find a soup that is more substantial, easier to make, and that tastes nearly as good as this Minestrone. It’s the kind of soup that will give you energy for the whole day. Serve it with crackers, a bit of buttered bread, a sandwich, a grilled cheese, or just on its own. Next week, as we continue the Chef’s Notes hearty soup series, we will look at how to make loaded potato soup. I hope that you are as excited about that as I am.

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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    4 stars

    4 stars
    Looks great going to try your way for making this it’s one of my favourite soups 😎
    Thanks Sue Dauphinee

  2. Richard

    5 stars
    Thanks, Chef Ben! If I were using ground pork instead of cooked chicken, could I sauté the pork, first, then add the “mirepoix” and garlic to sweat, and continue on as per the recipe instructions?

  3. Chef Ben Kelly

    That’s exciting how I would do it. The other option is to make small meatballs with the ground pork. Either way will work well. Thanks for the question.

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