Monday, October 06, 2008
Why I can never be a vegetarian.
Vegetable soup is one of my favourite things to have hanging about readily in the fridge, waiting to be heated up after a late night ride, or tiring class. Tasty and nutritious. I make mine like a minestrone, but I daren't call it a minestrone for fear of purists. I just put whatever vegetables or beans I have on hand. Some garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and lovely dark red italian tomato paste.
Today I made a giant pot to clear out the wilted and semi frozen vegetables I found lurking in my fridge. I do my marketing but my eyes are too big for my stomach, since I buy enough vegetables for 5 when there are only two of us. And then there are the busy days where I'm just too lazy to use the vegetables sitting right there. So vegetable soup ensures nothing gets wasted.
Use whatever you like. In a large pot, warm some olive oil and chopped garlic, fry the mushrooms to develop the flavour. Then toss in all the long cooking vegetables The soaked beans and cauliflower and things like.. chopped raw chestnuts go in at this time. Add boiling water and bring up the heat. When its beginning to boil again, add the next lot of vegetables. Zucchini, pumpkin, celery, carrot, tomato and everything else, leaving only the quick cooking greens. Those go in at the very end. Now stir in as much tomato paste as you like to get a nice red hue and some goood tomatoey flavour. Salt it now, so the vegetables get tender and have good flavour.
Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing is burning at the bottom. It will bubble away happily.
Once it all smells good, the tomatoes have melted and the zucchini can hardly be found, add in the greens and stir well and simmer for another fifteen minutes. If you like, add in some pasta twists or shells at this point. Just a little to add texture to it when you're eating later. Season with more salt to taste, black pepper and more extra virgin olive oil. (I always end up adding more tomato paste at the end too... )
Then call your neighbours and ask them to help themselves :D
Leftovers freeze well. Refrigerator also works for up to a week as long as you let it cool completely before refrigerating. (If there are any leftovers. Might be better if you set aside some at first.)
Update: The soup turned out delicious, but somehow lacking something.. It was really sweet, but had none of the robustness I'm used to finding in my soup. I finally deduced it was the lack of meat in it. Usually it's made with chicken stock, but this time I just used water and the soup suffered for it.. Just now I decided to do something about it.. I added some mince beef (pan fried with garlic and some potatoes) Ahhhhhhh.... much better. Now it's the soup I know... See the beefy bits in the picture?? ;)