Dinner of the Damned! Or Something...

5 years ago

This really isn't a bento, it was what we had for dinner on the last night I had Miss Girl before Halloween. But it turned out pretty good and I was overall pleased with it, so I'm posting it anyway.

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Shoo vampire soup and bats!

The bats are just grilled cheese sandwiches cut into bat shapes and made with dark pump pumpernickel. And the creepy-looking croutons on the soup? Well I couldn't just throw away all that bread. One of the biggest criticisms of bentos and overall cutesy food I hear is that so much food gets thrown away. Not around here it doesn't! We usually end up snacking on it while things are being put together, but in this case I just chopped the bread into chunky bits and toasted it in a skillet with some herbs and a little butter. Pretty tasty, if I may say so.

The shoo vampire soup is just a not-at-all-authentic variation of a Tuscan white bean and garlic soup with a little kale (because my kid loves it and it's so healthy! Plus it makes the soup a spooky green color after it's been blended).  Here's approximately what I did, but it's super versatile.

Shoo Vampire Soup

Makes 6 generous servings

  • 2 tbsp. oil or butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped (I made everything big chunky bits since it was all going in the blender anyway. If you don't want to blend it, make the pieces smaller.)
  • 1 smallish bunch of celery, chopped
  • 1 head plus 5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 to 5 cups chicken broth (or vegetable, if you're going to vegetarian/vegan)
  • 1 large bunch kale, washed, stemmed, and chopped
  • 4 cans white beans, drained (I used great northern white, but the original recipe calls for cannellini)
  • Herbs and spices (I LOVE sage and crushed red pepper with this, but I'm sure lots of other things would do)
Sautee the carrots, celery, and garlic (and any other fresh vegetables you want to add, besides the kale) in the oil until softened but not browned.  Also sautee the herbs at this time.  Add the flour and stir until it's no longer visible, then let it cook a minute or so (in other words, make a blond roux).  Slowly stir in the chicken broth, being careful not to leave any lumps of flour as you do so. Add in beans and kale (I usually leave one can of beans out so that they don't get blended, but that's completely optional).  Cook until kale is soft.  Transfer to a blender in batches and blend, or use an immersion blender. Taste for salt and pepper.
 
It occurs to me that this would be super tasty with some chicken or ham in it too, but we keep it veggie around here for Miss Girl.  It was also nowhere near as garlicky as I expected, but still not half bad.
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