Sunday, October 23, 2011

how to make soup

It took me a long time to learn to improvise in the kitchen, but I do feel fairly confident in my abilities now, which is why the blog has taken a slightly new direction. Once upon a time, I only made soup if I had the exact ingredients prescribed by the recipe, but now I throw them together any time I have a whole mess of vegetables to use up.

Here's my method:

Take stock of the kitchen. What vegetables are on hand? What spices will be nice with them? Are there beans in the freezer so dinner has some protein content?

Start souping.

Saute onion, garlic, and maybe a hard vegetable like carrots.

Add spices, followed by liquid and vegetables.

Bring to a boil. Add beans. Reduce heat and simmer.

Stir in greens and add more liquid as needed.

Adjust spices, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve, knowing the soup will be even better the next day and the day after.

I followed the above method twice in the past few weeks, writing down what I threw in the pot as I went. Most of the vegetables came from our CSA and dictated what I'd be putting in. Both soups yielded 4-6 servings, and both were perfect to our taste. I added the ingredients in the order they're listed.

Vegetable Soup #1:
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 T minced garlic
1 cup chopped carrots
1 bay leaf
1 T dried parsley
1 t each of the following dried herbs: marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups green beans
1 qt vegetable broth
2 cups chickpeas
1 bunch kale, thinly slice
(4 cups additional water needed)

Vegetable Soup #2
2 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1.5 T minced garlic
1 hot pepper, seeded and minced
1 T chili powder
2 t cumin
1 t paprika
1 t mexican oregano
3 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
4 cups water
2 cups black beans
4 ears corn, kernels removed
1 bunch kale, thinly sliced
Neither of these is a firm recipe, but it's the kind of cooking I've been mostly doing. EDW is happy. I'm happy. The vegetables are happy.

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