When I was a little girl, there was one thing I gave up almost every lent, and it was really hard. My mom’s chicken soup. [Side note: I once tried to give up school, because I really loved school. Nerd alert.] I tried making my own a few years ago, but it’s just not the same. Now that I’m a vegetarian and no longer eat chicken or chicken broth, I adapted the recipe to veggie soup. It’s not quite the same, but it’s very versatile and very delicious. This post was mostly written in November, so the vegetables I have now are a little different, but you really can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
During the school year I was lucky enough to have a farmers market right on my campus, and a friend who works there to tell me what’s best. I’m unlucky enough that it ended in the middle of November. But, I got some excellent foods there all semester, and it was a godsend for my vegetarian senses. Need just one turnip for soup? Don’t want to walk all the way to the grocery store? Just pick up a turnip at the farmer’s market. Need, need, NEED some jalapeño cheddar bread? Farmer’s market has a bakery component. It was one of my favorite things about going to AU.
Start with your cast of characters. Basically, you can use whatever vegetables and herbs you’ve got. I also recommend some kind of grain: pasta, ravioli, maybe rice. You need veggie broth as a base, otherwise it’s just too watery. You could also use veggie stock and add some water to that to simulate broth’s consistency. I had some veggie broth sitting around, and some frozen vegetables in my freezer, and then some fresh vegetables in my fridge. Put your vegetable broth on to low simmer. If you have any frozen veg to boil, turn that on. You should also put your pasta/rice/grain on to boil if you’re using some. Start chopping and peeling your vegetables, whatever kinds you want. I used a potato, a white sweet potato, a carrot, a turnip, a little garlic, and some celery. Mmmmm, celery.
For a more stew-like consistency add more potato and less water. For a thinner consistency, don’t use a potato at all. I would recommend not using potato if you intend to use rice as your grain. You could also use potato gnocchi, that would be delicious. You could also probably just boil your frozen veg right in the broth.
You want to herb up the vegetable broth, because it’s not especially flavorful by itself. Don’t forget to add some salt and pepper too. I use the same herbs for most things: onion powder, parsley, italian seasoning, basil, a bay leaf, and normally some garlic powder. But because I used real garlic this time, I didn’t use garlic powder. Once the broth is herbed, dump in your vegetables and stir it all up. Check on anything else that’s boiling, and turn the soup up to a boil. Once the soup has boiled, turn it back down to a simmer, and leave it for a while. When your pasta is done, strain it, and dump some straight into the soup. Leave the soup for a little while longer until you just can’t stand it anymore, then take it off and nom at will.
Soup is the best for cold winter mornings like today, so set a pot on your burner and let the smell drive you wild all day. You could also add a can of pureed tomato; my mom always did that to her chicken soup and it was delicious. Chickpeas make a nice soup ingredient, too. I’ve read in food blogs that the rind from the end of a wedge of parmesan cheese makes for a delicious taste. Broccoli and cauliflower are staples of most of my soups. I don’t know about you, but now I want to go make some nice warm soup.