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13 December 2012 @ 01:45 am
Thursday's Soup Day.... Winter Veggie Soup  
I love soup. Well made soup is warming, comforting and oh so satisfying. It is also easy and super cheap to make. All you really need a slow cooker or a large heavy stockpot, some basic skills and time. Why would anyone ever bother with eating soup-out-of-a-can is a real mystery.

Winter Veggie Soup is one of several recipes I created while I was going to Fairhaven College at Western Washington University in the 90’s. At the time it was vogue to go meatless. Either vegan or vegetarian and if one could afford it completely organic. We couldn’t and being Texans the thought of giving up meat horrified my husband and I. Never mind we were the definition of poor college students and pretty much living out of the food bank, plus whatever I could dollar shop, grow, glean or barter. But still I loved to entertain and our place was a traditional gathering spot for our classmates. 3 to 5 nights a week somebody was coming over to work on something or other. So how do you cook and entertain in a situation like that?

In a word,WINTER VEGGIE SOUP                                                                                                          Feeds 8 to 12

COMPONENTS
2T oil
1 medium onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2T AP flour
1c butternut squash, baked, peeled and cubed
1c potatoes, baked and cubed
1c cauliflower, broken into florets
1c white beans, dry measure
1c carrots, grated
15oz can corn, juice and all
15oz can of red beans, juice and all
1/2c green beans, chopped
1/2c peas
32oz container of stock
2T black pepper, ground fresh
1t salt
1t sage, dry
1t basil, dry
1t thyme, dry
1t cumin seed
1t red pepper flakes or a dry Serrano chili, ground fresh

TOOLSET
Two large bowls
Colander
Saucepan with lid
Big spoon
Large whisk
Measuring cup & spoons
Can opener
Cutting board and knife
Coffee grinder
Crock pot or slow cooker
Tea towel and hot pads

PROCEDURE
  • The night before making the soup, measure out dry beans into the large bowl, cover with cold water and place in the frig to re-hydrate. Also place the squash and taters in a 350 degree oven and bake until tender. When cooked slide into another large bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  • In the morning, set up crock pot in a space suitable for long term cooking.
  • Dice onion. Drain beans through colander and set aside over a tea towel.
  • Place saucepan over medium low burner, add oil and heat until it just shimmers.
  • Add onion and cook until well caramelized but not burned. Take your time with this step well cooked onions will add a depth of flavor that is almost meaty.
  • While the onions are doing their thing, assemble and break down all the rest vegetation. Remember everything needs to be spoon sized. Also open the cans but do not drain.
  • Add the garlic, squash, potatoes, cauliflower, white beans, carrots, corn, red beans, green beans and peas to the crock.
  • Add the caramelized onion as well and mix the veggies to combine.
  • Return sauce pan to burner add a bit more oil, sprinkle in the flour and toast to a blond roux. The roux with also add a layer of meatiness and well as thicken the soup.
  • Add cup of stock to roux and stir to form a thick gravy.
  • Stir the gravy paste into crock and put saucepan in the sink.
  • In the chamber of the coffee grinder combine the black pepper, salt, sage, basil, thyme, cumin and red pepper. Grind into a fine powder  and stir into the soup.
  • Add enough stock to bring soup within an inch or so of the top of the crock.
  • Set crock for 10 hours, cover and let cook.
  • This soup freezes well and is awesome to the last spoonful.
TIPS & VARIATIONS
  • Meat. This recipe was originally designed for to be completely vegan except for toppings. I have however had good reception to the addition of 1 pound of cooked chopped chicken or 1 pound cooked loose sausage  if meat is a must. Also if you are feeding a mixed group of carnivores and non-carnivores consider offering a bowl warm cooked shredded chicken to be added to the bowl as needed.
  • Veggies. The list above is not hard and fast. Use what you have and try to include a rainbow of what’s in season. The original selection for the recipe came from a food bank box.
  • Condiments. Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, chopped green onions or cilantro and crusty bread or corn chips.  .
Frugally yours-
KC/FP
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