SOUP- A four letter word that is an important aspect of my winter menus.
SOUP- A dish that can start a meal, round out a meal, or be the meal when served with crusty bread and a salad.
SOUP: A food that can be dressed up (think French Onion Soup) or dressed down (Split Peas with Carrots), but always welcome on a cold night.
SOUP: A favorite in almost everyoneâ€™s household on cold days.
Despite its popularity, many people shy away from making soup from scratch. (I often purchase Imagine Food’s ready-made soups to keep on the shelf in case I donâ€™t have one brewing on the back burner.) Shy away no more. Making stock is as simple as emptying out your vegetable bin. Actually, when I was a relief cook at a health food store, I learned from a CIA (Culinary Institute of America) pro. She would start with a huge part of water heating on the stove. As the morning progressed, bits and pieces of veggies were thrown into the pot: carrot tops, onion bottoms, stems and leaves of herbs, even egg shells! At the end of day there would be a tasty stock brew. We would strain the veggies from the pot and place the stock in the â€˜frig. Next day we would have stock to start our vegetarian soups. (See stock recipe below.)
When you are in a hurry and donâ€™t have a packaged soup available, soup can be ready in about 30 minutes without preparing a soup stock ahead of time. Lentils, split peas, potatoes, and vegetables can be ready in about 20 minutes and then pureed with spices and herbs. If you puree everything in the blender or food processor, you have creamy soup without the cream. (See Cauliflower-Sweet Potato Soup and Split Pea Soup below.)
Whatâ€™s really great about homemade soups without meat is that they are easy on the food budget. A one-pound package of split peas is 69 cents. Add a couple carrots and an onion and you can have a pot of soup for about $1.00! Adding grains such as rice, buckwheat, or barley brings a hearty texture to soup. With so much variety in the legume and grain categories, you have an endless harvest of soups to prepare, taste, and enjoy. Try one today!
Basic Soup Stock (Use organic veggies when available possible)
4 quarts of (filtered) water
3-4 carrots, washed and scrubbed
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
one parsnip, washed and scrubbed
one turnip, washed and scrubbed
one potato, washed and scrubbed
2-3 stalks of celery, scrubbed and cut into thirds
parsley, dill, or other herbs you like
1 tsp each – salt and pepper
1. Place everything in the soup pot, bring to a boil and simmer until veggies are tender.
2. Then strain all the veggies and refrigerate the stock in a large pot so that it cools quickly. Then place in jars in the freezer or the refrigerator.
3. Orâ€”save some of the stock and add the veggies back, minus the garlic, herbs and any veggies you donâ€™t like. Add some cooked greens or cooked grains or cooked beans and you have a soup for that night.
4. Or- Puree the veggies with some of the stock for a creamy vegetable puree.
There are so many soup options with these vegetables. You choose!
Cauliflower Sweet Potato Soup
1/2 large or one small organic cauliflower
2 small or one large organic sweet potato
1- 2 T. curry powder
water from cooking cauliflower
1. Wash cauliflower, removing the leaves. Pull apart and cook cauliflower pieces in enough water to cover until cauliflower is barely tender.
2. Wash, scrub and bake the sweet potato until it can be pieced with a fork. (You can also slice it and cook it in water as an alternative.)
3. When the cauliflower is ready, remove from water and allow water to cool.
4. When the sweet potato is baked, allow to cool; then peel and cut into chunks.
5. Place about half the cauliflower pieces and half the sweet potato chunks in a small amount of the cooled cooking water and puree until smooth. Do the same with the rest of the sweet potatoes and cauliflower, until all is pureed.
6. Place back in the soup pot to warm, add curry powder (more or less to taste) and serve. Sprinkle on some parsley or dill for color, if you wish.
Note: I added some peas left in my freezer from last monthâ€™s blog.
Phyllis’ Split Pea Soup
(My cousin Phyllis Jacobson always brings me this soup when I am under the weather. I finally asked her for the recipe so I could make it myself whenever I want, not just when I am not my usual, healthy self! Also, this is a thick soup, like the rhyme, â€œPeas porridge hot, peas porridge coldâ€¦..â€ so feel free to add a little extra water if the soup is too thick for your taste.)
2 cups dried, split peas (yellow or green or one of each), rinsed well
2 qts. water
2 bay leaves
4 organic carrots, scrubbed and sliced into rings
2 cups chopped, organic celery
1/2 cup chopped, organic onion
1. Put peas in water and bring to a boil.
2. Turn down the heat and add the other ingredients.
3. Cook about 1/2- 3/4 hour, until veggies are tender.
4. Allow to cool slightly. Set aside bay leaves and a few slices of carrots.
5. Place cooked veggies in blender or food processor and puree until smooth. (I used my hand held blender for this and pureed everything right in the cooking pot.)
6. Replace bay leaves and sliced carrots. Warm the soup and serve.
(Note: Phyllis said the celery provides enough salt, so no salt is added to this recipe, unless you wish to do so.)
Basic Barley-Vegetable Soup
(The veggies added to this soup create the stock)
4 quarts of water
3-4 organic carrots, scrubbed and sliced into rings
2-3 organic celery stalks, washed and cut into thirds
2 garlic cloves, peeled
small bunch of fresh parsley
one parsnip or turnip, washed and scrubbed
one potato, scrubbed and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups pearled barley
dill and basil or other herbs of your liking
low sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s Aminos (soy-based)
1. Place everything in one large pot except soy sauce or Braggâ€™s Aminos. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.
2. Remove garlic, parsely, and turnip. You can cut potatoes into smaller pieces, slice celery into smaller pieces, and cut the parsnip into rings like the carrots. (I don’t love turnips, so I don’t keep them in the soup. You can do that with any of the veggies, if you like, except the carrots, since the nutrients are really in the water now.)
3. Add soy sauce or Bragg’s to taste and serve warm.
Note: Feel free to add cooked beans of your choice, corn, or cooked kale. (I added kale.) Basically, you can use the veggies you like and design the soup to your taste buds.