Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Classic Vegetable Soup

I haven’t posted in a while. We’ve had a hard summer and the desire to post has just not been there. I am looking forward to forgetting all about this summer so it’s nice that Mother Nature is cooperating. The air is getting cooler. Our central air conditioning unit broke (again) last week and we haven’t felt the urgency to get it fixed. The past few mornings I have sent my kids to camp with hoodies on, and in the evening the breeze picks up and I enjoy the sight of the curtains billowing about the windowsills.

Logically, as it cools down outside, we feel the need to warm up inside. What better way to  accomplish that than with a piping hot delicious homemade soup?

Soup time is one of my favourite times of year, largely because The King of Soup starts to make some of his masterpieces again. The KoS is quite open to suggestions so I find myself browsing through cookbooks and websites, and proposing new options weekly. This process works well for me.

Even though I love when The KoS cooks, I also enjoy making soup myself. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it’s not technical, and you can generally combine many things that are already in your refrigerator and end up with something quite yummy.

This recipe came from my head, and was not prepared by The KoS. It’s a classic vegetable soup with some extra protein in the form of chick peas. And it was delicious.

2 large carrots, sliced
2 large stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed (14 oz can) (or you could use lentils)
1 large can diced tomatoes (or take fresh tomatoes and pulse them a few times in the food processor)
A couple of handfuls of green beans, cut into 1 inch sections
Any other vegetables you want to add! (try zucchini, sweet potato or squash, peppers...)
Herbs (a combination of fresh and dried works well – try dried oregano, fresh basil, fresh parsley, or whatever else you’d like)
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil (2 tbsp should do the trick)
Vegetable stock cubes reconstituted with boiling water, or homemade stock

In a large stock pot, heat 1 tbsp of the oil. When hot, reduce the heat to medium-high and add the onions. Saute for about 5 minutes until translucent.

Add the rest of the oil and the celery and carrots and sauté for another 2 – 3 minutes. Add the garlic.

Add the chick peas and sauté for 1 minute. 

Then add the tomatoes and the dried herbs.

Finally add the beans and whichever other veggies you have decided to use. Add the stock (liquid should just cover veggies). You don’t want too much liquid because you won’t be letting this soup simmer too long or the vegetables will overcook.

If you have decided to use sweet potatoes, cube them and par-boil them first for about 10 minutes before adding them to the soup. If you have decided to try squash, add an extra layer of deliciousness by roasting the squash in the oven (in cubes) for 10 – 15 minutes prior to adding it to the soup. 

Add your fresh herbs and the salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with parmesan cheese, homemade bread, biscuits, or whatever else makes you feel happy and cosy inside. I made Challah and toasted it nicely. Yummy.

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