Thursday, February 4, 2010

wintery vegetable soup

One little project I have on the list for the next few weeks is to stockpile dinners in our freezer. You know, for when the baby is here and we're too overwhelmed to even consider what to eat, let alone how to feed ourselves. This was my mom's idea. Such a good mom. So far I have two things... sooo yeah, not going AS WELL as planned. But the intention is there. In theory it works pretty well though. I make something large, we have it for dinner for a few nights and the other half goes in the freezer.

Dinner number two: Wintery Vegetable soup, inspired by the cover of the January Martha. I ended up just throwing in a bunch of things I found at the farmer's market (like chanterelles and baby kale), so inspired is the key word here. But it did turn out pretty delicious and I would definitely recommend giving it a try.

Winter vegetable soup

Since this recipe is so light, it's really all about the stock. I would highly recommend making your own since it's so easy and so much more delicious. And the best thing about stock is that you can literally add whatever vegetables and herbs you have on hand to the pot. Provided they're in harmony with the flavor of the soup you're planning to make. I should do a stock post, I love it so.

This is a rather large recipe... good for a week of dinners or a big soup party.

2 T olive oil

2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Make sure you wash them well!

1 bunch green garlic (couldn't resist adding this since it's just coming into season), treated the same as the leeks, but cut into smaller pieces

1/2 - 1 lb chanterelle mushrooms, depending on preference. If chanterelles aren't readily available at the farmer's market they can be rather expensive, so you can always leave these out. But they are amazing.

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 celery stalks, cut on the bias into 1/2 in thick pieces

3 medium carrots, cubed

1 small fennel bulb, cut into small thin pieces

2 pinches of red pepper flakes

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

6-8 cups homemade vegetable stock (or if you must, store bought)

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (you can throw the peels and seeds and trimmings into your stock pot!)

10 small heirloom potatoes, cut into quarters or bite-size pieces

1 small head of cauliflower broken into bite-size flowerets

1 big bag of baby kale (mine came from the farmer's market so I'm not sure about weight), or a few bunches of greens chopped into big pieces

2 cans chickpeas (I poured in the bean juice too, but you don't have to)

Juice of 1 lemon

A few pieces of lemon rind

chopped fresh mint

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large stock or soup pot. Add leeks, green garlic and garlic with a generous pinch of sea salt, and saute until soft (~5 minutes). Add the mushrooms and saute for a few minutes more until they are coated and starting to soften. Add carrots, celery, fennel, and red pepper flakes and cook for a few more minutes until a nice aromatic mixture has developed. You might consider adding a bit more sea salt and a few grinds of pepper at this point. Your veggies should taste good on their own.

Add the squash, potatoes, and cauliflower and mix so everything is coated. Then add the stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the squash and potatoes are soft enough, about 15 minutes. Dump in the chickpeas and kale and mix until the kale has wilted. Taste and evaluate for liquid. You might need to add a cup or so of water (or more stock) depending on how soupy you'd like it.

Add the fresh lemon juice, the lemon rind and the mint leaves.

And you're done! Serve with a few grates of parmesan cheese and a bit of minced mint.

You could easily make a lighter version of this soup by leaving out the mushrooms, 1 can of chickpeas, and substituting some of the stock for water. But today is rainy so it seems like a good day to go the more hearty route.


Caroline said...

I am going to make this!! This is such a great recipe and perfect for this time of year!! xo

Char said...

sounds so warm and comforting

C'est La Vie said...

I am definitely making this TONIGHT

sk said...

this is almost exactly what i had for lunch! minus the chickpeas, squash and fennel. So yummy! I love soup.

Kristina (Pretty Shiny Sparkly) said...

Mmmm, sounds delicious! When are you coming over and cooking it for me?

Melissa A said...

Looks soooo good. Happy Dinner Making!

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

Perfect for an especially cold day!