Category Archives: Soups and Stews

“Kitchen Sink” Vegetable Soup

I blew my monthly grocery money gallivanting around Peru.  The food there was fantastic and cheap.  I now have dreams of perfectly marinated chicken, soups, and chica morada.  Girding for lean times ahead, I replenished staples – flour, oil, butter, sugar – and went on a cooking frenzy this past weekend.  I made pumpkin bread and roasted seeds, bagels, and vegetable soup.

The soup was a blessing from the gods.  A volunteer gig left me with a veggie platter worth of leftovers.  Coupling its remains with a few ingredients I had on hand, soup now serves as sustenance for several days.

This basic “kitchen sink” vegetable soup is so named because I like to think myself witty sometimes (it’s an everything but the kitchen sink type soup), nearly any veggie combo will work.  My ingredient list recounts what I had on hand that went into this rendition of vegetable soup.  Since I did not have any stock on hand, I slowly simmered the veggies so that they would create a flavorful broth.

A mid-assembly shot of the veggie-rific soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • carrots, hand full, chopped
  • celery, several stalks, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • bell pepper, hand full, diced
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • corn kernels, hand full
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • several shakes red pepper flakes
  • dried basil
  • fresh ground pepper
  • salt

Directions:

I am a big fan of doing food prep as I start cooking to speed the process along.  I yank everything out and turn on the pan before I bother to chop anything. Then I start chopping on a “who’s needed first” basis, chopping and adding to the pot as I go to conserve counter space, dishes used, and time required until food reaches my belly.

  1. Heat on low the 1 tbsp olive oil in the bottom of the soup pan. Dice the onion and add to the pot.  Begin cutting the potatoes and other veggies as the onions cook.
  2. Once onions are translucent, add the potatoes and the roasted garlic cloves.  Continue chopping and adding the vegetables, beginning with those that need the longest cook time (parsnips, carrots, celery).  Do not add the quick cooking veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, and corn at this time. Add the chickpeas and cover the vegetables with water, adding 1″ or more over the tops of the veggies.
  3. Add red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cook on a low simmer for about 30-40 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  5. Add the remaining veggies and basil flakes and continue to cook another 10-20 minutes until zucchini and peppers have the desired bite.
  6. For a thicker soup, strain out a cup or two of the veggies and puree in a blender or food processor and then add back to the soup.
  7. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed and enjoy.
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Swiss Chard & Beet Green Soup

I’m not much of a soup person, but my CSA is turning me into one.  When confronted with my onslaught of vegetables, lately soup has been the most appealing option for using them up.  The cumin gives this deep green colored soup a  nice bite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch Swiss Chard
  • 1 Bunch Beet Greens
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lb Potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2-4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 Cup Sour cream
  • Salt, Pepper

Directions:

  1. Separate the leaves of the swiss chard and beet greens from their more fibrous stems.  Chop the leaves for the soup.  Chop and save the stems for another dish or discard.
  2. Cut the potatoes into small cubes, either with or without the skin.  Remove the skin if you want a smooth puree.  Prep the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large pot. Toss in the onions and garlic, cook until fragrant and onions translucent.
  4. Toss in the potatoes and coat with the spices: cumin, salt, pepper.
  5. Add the chopped greens and stock (2-4 cups, add the rest in water) to the pot.  Cover and turn to high heat.
  6. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  7. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or by straining the solids and pureeing them in a food processor or blender.
  8. Place the puree in a separate bowl.  Add the sour cream.  Add back as much of the liquid as desired until you reach your desired soup consistency.

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Cold Borscht

This dish garnered universal “yums” from all at the table.  Cold soup is fantastic for hot humid summer meals.  I made this after being introduced to the dish at a dinner hosted by a colleague.  They served a Lithuanian borscht and instructed that actually half a hard boiled egg should be put in the bowl first and then mashed and then the soup added on top of that.  As I was serving a legion of guests a multi-course meal, I tossed chopped eggs right into it.

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 beets
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Lemon juice
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 peeled cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • Dill
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Boil beets until tender firm (like potatoes).  Cool to touch and peel the skin off.
  2. Grate beets and place in large bowl.
  3. Add the cucumber, eggs and onion.  Season with salt and dill by looks (I added both until I went “whoops, maybe that was too much”), I imagine perhaps a teaspoon plus of salt and 2-3 teaspoons of dill is sufficient.
  4. The yogurt, sour cream and lemon juice were also eyeballed measurements.  I added perhaps a cup of yogurt, half a cup of sour cream, and a dash or two of lemon juice.
  5. Add water until the soup is as thick or runny as you’d like.
  6. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

Serve and enjoy!

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