Cold Weather: Two Hot Soups

Two soups: Italian Minestrone and Japanese Nikujaga. Minestrone:A wonderful, stick to your ribs soup is minestrone. My version is vegetarian but you can add cooked chunks of chicken to it or use beef or chicken broth. It is so rich and the beans add such good protein, I don’t think it is needed. this is just one version of minestrone. Italy has different culinary regions and the same dish may be different from region to region. This version goes together quickly and is so good served with a rustic, crusty bread.

The Japanese beef stew, while similar to many versions here in the US and elsewhere, is still, a little different. It is thinner than most stews and the snow peas and ginger add a wonderful difference. I like this served in a deep bowl over rice.

Either soup will warm your tummy, make your family smile, and make you glad to be inside where it is cozy instead of outside where it is cold and yucky.

2 lbs beef stew meat (brown in a bit of oil before adding to crock pot)
1 cup water
3 tbs. Japanese sake
3 tbs. mirin
3 tbs. sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb baby carrots (whole)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large white onion, diced
10 snow peas halved (can substitute equivalent of shredded cabbage or bok choy)
quarter sized piece of ginger, grated
cooked sticky rice
garnish with some chopped parsley and/or slivered scallion


1 Put all into crock pot and cook on low 10-12 hours or on high 4-6 hours.
2. Add snow peas last two hours of cooking time
2 Stir before serving. Serve over sticky rice. Use chopsticks to stir or stir carefully to not break apart

1 16 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinse
1 16 oz can navy, great northern, chick peas, or cannellini beans drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery diced
2 potatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1small can diced tomatoes and juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 quarts vegetable broth
bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, sprig of thyme, 1 tbs chopped basil)
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 cup macaroni or any small pasta 1
Grated parmesan cheese, to serve
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbs. sugar

In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the onion, carrots, potatoes, celery and garlic; reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes until tender. Add the tomato paste and broth, stirring thoroughly. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the bouquet garni salt, pepper, and sugar, and cabbage and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Add beans and return to heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.Remove bouquet garni. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve. NOTE: cooked chicken can be added and heated through.


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. humptydumptymuralmagic
    Oct 27, 2014 @ 23:03:00

    I am going to try both of these soups this weekend!


  2. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Oct 28, 2014 @ 10:08:28

    These are filed for proper time. This minestrone is a less complicated version. I LIKE it. Thank you, Kansen. ❤


  3. Russel Ray Photos
    Oct 28, 2014 @ 10:46:18

    I have never really liked minestrone. In fact, the older I get, the less I like soup, although it’s the first thing I turn to if I have a cold–chicken noodle, chicken with rice, cream of potato.


    • kanzensakura
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 11:01:26

      Actually, I rarely eat soup when I am sick. LOL, I go for plain, steamed buttered rice or….moo goo gai pan….I’ve gotten so I like hearty soups that more of a meal. of course, unless one is a vegetarian, the bestest is still a good juicy wood grilled steak….

      Sent from Windows Mail


  4. M-R
    Oct 28, 2014 @ 20:12:12

    Telling people they can add MEAT to minestrone ? – Kanzen, for shame ! [grin]
    Your recipe looks much the same as mine, only differing a little. Already I’m regretting summer’s arrival …


    • kanzensakura
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 20:28:05

      I had a lovely person ask for a soup that could be made and divide up so her husband could add meat to his portion. I like this version better without the meat. I also like to chop up a small zucchini to add in with the veggies and for a change, in place of the cabbage, add some spinach. This out goes together so easily, one doesn’t have to use a lot of energy or generate a lot of heat. It’s a good soup eaten warm, but not hot, so even in summer, it’s a good eat.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO


  5. Mélanie
    Nov 16, 2014 @ 03:58:46

    HL = huge like… ❤ we're all soup lovers… domo arigato & bon appétit! 🙂


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