Thursday, November 1, 2007

Soup's On

As soon as the weather starts to turn chilly, there is nothing I love to eat more than a big bowl of hearty soup. In fact, even when the weather isn't so chilly, there is nothing I love more than a big bowl of hearty soup. I'll admit that I've been crafting pots of thick, vegetable-filled soup since late August. The fun really starts now, though, when hefty winter squashes and smoky roasted root vegetables are the stars of the season.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had experimented with pumpkin wild rice soup, and I am still working on getting a recipe that is just right. I have even been informed that I may be receiving, via mail, some fresh Minnesotan wild rice. So, I'll postpone that particular soup until further notice.

However, I thought I would share a couple of delicious vegetable soup ideas - nothing too fancy - that have crept their way into our dinner repertoire lately. For all of these soups, I tend to toss in whatever catches my eye when grocery shopping, so don't be alarmed by the lengthy ingredient lists. The great thing about soups is that you can add anything you want, and it always (well, almost always) turns out spectacularly. I haven't included step-by-step instructions, but have noted anything noteworthy. Always start by sauteing the mirepoix (here it's onion, carrot, and celery), and you'll be fine. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Late Summer Vegetable Soup (a bit out of season, but still yummy)

onions, carrots, and celery
fresh or frozen corn kernels (cooked)
peas or fresh broad beans, if available
zucchini
buttercup or butternut squash
handful of fresh parsley
seasonings - salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, paprika, etc.

Make sure to allow enough cooking time if using fresh beans. Puree corn and parsley together until creamy to provide a thickening base for the soup. Puree other vegetables to achieve desired chunkiness.

Mushroom Wild Rice Soup

onion, carrots, and celery
mix of wild mushrooms - cremini, oyster, button, shiitake
chicken broth
zucchini
peas
cooked wild rice
seasonings - salt, pepper, sage, bay leaf, garlic, etc.

Add vegetables first, then puree before adding mushrooms and rice. Saute the mushrooms separately before adding to the soup.

Tuscan-Style Vegetable Soup

onion, carrots, and celery
1 can crushed tomatoes, with juice
stock or broth
starchy vegetable, such as potato or squash
cannellini beans
peas
chard, spinach, or kale
roasted or crushed garlic, left in chunky pieces
seasonings - salt, pepper, basil, oregano, parsley, bay leaf, etc.

Start by sauteing the flavor base, then add tomatoes and stock. Cook squash or potato in soup until tender, then add peas, canned beans, and leafy green. Serve ladled over day-old crusty bread, or add orzo.

More inventive soups on the way, but this should hold you over for now.

1 comment:

Naomi said...

The wild rice is on its way. I look forward to the pumpkin wild rice soup recipe for these chilly Minnesota evenings.