Chow Time: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Cookbook

I’m not sure whether to love or be completely jealous of Gwyneth Paltrow? Aside from being a jack of all trades and the master of all them (you can now add cookbook author to the list), she also seems like someone you’d like to have lunch with. Check out her latest and greatest achievement, My Father’s Daughter, a collection of easy to make recipes and personal stories of family, food, and togetherness. She shares her recipe for White Bean Soup: Two Ways. My favorite is number 2!

“I have always loved food, and have loved to be around it. The love was instilled by my father. He taught me that gathering around a table is the high point of the day. It makes us feel good because it connects us so strongly to the feeling that happiness is here, it’s achievable. You don’t need anything but some good ingredients, some simple recipes, a couple of jokes, a good bottle of wine, and people you love. There it is.” Gwyneth Paltrow, from MY FATHER’S DAUGHTER

My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness

*Recipes from MY FATHER’S DAUGHTER by Gwyneth Paltrow.  Copyright © 2011.  Used by permission of Grand Central Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved. Photos by Ellen Silverman.

White Bean Soup: Two Ways

Photo by Ellen Silverman.

When I was growing up my father made his living writing, directing, and producing television shows like The White Shadow and St. Elsewhere. In Studio City, California, very near to the CBS studio where the shows were made, there was a fancy French restaurant called Le Serre where he used to take me when I would visit him at work (and on special occasions). I would always order French onion soup, really for just picking the crispy cheese off of the sides of the pot. I’ve always loved the idea of French onion soup—the slowcooked onions, the melted cheese—without actually liking it. I sought to make a vegetarian version with depth and flavor and more of an Italian slant. This simple one-pot soup makes a filling meal, and, just as I did, my kids love the melted, crispy cheese.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 fennel bulb, stems and fronds removed for another use, bulb thinly sliced

1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

Pinch red chile flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 14-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 pints Vegetable Stock (page 36)

Coarse salt

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the fennel and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and garlic, turn the heat as low as it can go, and cook for 1/2 hour, stirring here and there. A little color is okay, but you really want the vegetables to get soft and sweet. Add the chile flakes, oregano, and pepper and cook for a minute. Add the beans and stock, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, add salt to taste, and let cook on low heat for 1 hour. Proceed with either version.

Version One (with kale)

1 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces

Your best, highest-quality olive oil, for serving

Stir in the kale leaves and let cook for 7 minutes, or until just cooked. Ladle into four bowls, drizzle with your very best oil, and serve.

Version Two (french onion soup style)

8 thin slices baguette, toasted

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the broiler.

Ladle the soup into four ovenproof bowls. Float two toasts on each bowl and evenly distribute the cheese (yes it’s a lot, but this is the time to be generous). Put the bowls under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly, less than a minute.

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2 Responses to Chow Time: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Cookbook

  1. Paula says:

    Hi Thara,
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your daily newsletter. You bring an international and cosmopolitan touch to those of us in the ‘burbs and open our eyes to exciting products, fashions and people. Keep up the good work!

  2. HapaMama says:

    What a lovely blog! I can’t decide whether to be inspired by Gwyneth or get all stabby when I read about her charmed life ;) Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

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