Gourds at Christmas? Yep!


By now it’s no secret….I love gourds!

holiday tablescapeWhen I found these Santas oh so many years ago, there was no way I could resist having them.

holiday tablescapeNow, these Santas are not your traditional red and green.

holiday tablescapeIf you look closely, you will see they have the same colors as this table runner, not at all Christmasy but a very fun background for these guys.

holiday tablescapeNo Christmas dishes on this table, but that’s not to say there aren’t hints of red and green which are the same tones as the Santas.  Hooray!

holiday tablescapeWho knew that pieces from Target’s Octavia Hill Collection would be just right for Christmas?  I’m sure glad to have them because nothing else in the cabinets would have been quite right for the Santas.

December nights so far have been very cool, perfect for soups and stews.  For some reason, my thoughts have turned to the bread soups I loved in Italy, and I have been experimenting with them.  One was here, and tonight’s effort is more like the traditional ribollita.  It is one you might want to try.

ribollitaRibollita

2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/3 c. olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2 leeks, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large potato, peeled and chopped

4 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced

1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes

2 sprigs each thyme, rosemary and sage

1/4-1/2 t. red pepper flakes

16 oz. kale, spinach or cabbage, roughly chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Heat half the olive oil in a soup pot; add the onion, carrot and celery.  Cook gently for about 10 minutes.  Add the leeks and garlic; cook for another 10 minutes.  Stir in the beans, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, sage, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Add about 8 cups of water, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour.

Transfer 2-3 ladles of soup to a bowl and mash with back of a spoon.  Add back to soup along with kale, spinach or cabbage.  Cook  for 15-20 minutes.  Add remaining olive oil.

To serve, toast thick slices of ciabatta or crusty Italian bread and rub with garlic.  Put the bread in the bottom of a bowl and ladle the ribollita over it.    Trickle a little olive oil over the top and serve with ample Parmesan cheese.

Now, here is what I have learned from experimenting.  There’s lots of chopping.  If you like doing it by hand, great, otherwise use a blender or food processor.  A generous portion of Italian seasoning can be substituted if you don’t have fresh herbs.  The soup is actually better the next day, so let it cool  and then refrigerate.  When you are ready to serve it, reheat slowly adding the remaining olive oil at that time.

This is a very hearty and satisfying soup that can be a one dish meal or served with a simple green salad.  Experiment with it and if you find something you really like, do let me know.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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20 thoughts on “Gourds at Christmas? Yep!

  1. I was already hungry, and then looking at that bowl of steaming hot soup with all those good things in it just made my hunger climb to the nth level!!!!! I like the gourds!!! I don’t think you have to do traditional red & green at Christmas for it to have a Christmas vibe at all!!! The fact that they are Santas is just about as Christmas as you can get, regardless of their color!!! They do go perfectly with the runner! Well played, Linda!

  2. The Santa’s are fabulous!.. so is the table setting.!
    I’ve made soups like this before and on occasion when I’ve had a cold or just fancied some heat I’ve added a fresh seeded and chopped red chilli to the adult portions.

  3. OOOh, now i want some of those Santas and will not rest until I find one, Maybe Santa Fe in January? Love your table.. the embroidery is perfect with the gourds. I love your dishes too. xo marlis

    • I’m delighted that you like the gourds, Marlis. Over the years I’ve seen others but none have been as well painted as these. Good luck with your Santa Fe search.

  4. What a lovely Christmas table. Your Santa gourds have so much personality and add a serving of whimsy to your tablescape. My friend paints gourds and I’m always amazed at how beautiful they are and how much the unique shapes add to their personality. Happy Holidays!

  5. I wrote you a long comment yesterday and lost it. I was so disappointed but had to leave and did not have time to try to rewrite. I was so touched by your visit to me and also wish I could sit in your kitchen sometime and visit. You are truly an artist and I enjoy your creativity all the time.
    Darling gourds. Yes, the faces are intriguing. Soup looks delish!

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