Friday, November 28, 2014

Grandma Pearl's Perfect Vegetable Soup

My grandmother Pearl, of blessed memory, could transform any piece of produce into a cooked down masterpiece. Old wrinkly peaches? No problem, she cooked them up. Forgot about some apples in the back of the fruit drawer? She would make a scrumptious applesauce. And vegetables? Time after time she transformed veggies from within an inch of their lives into delicious soup. I remember enjoying so many bowls of soup at her house, and not a single one was the same. And for sure we never knew if the vegetables were fresh from the farm or rescued from the back of the refrigerator. This is a tradition I'm honored to carry on, and a tasty one at that.

The secret to her soup? It's so easy! Throw any vegetables you have in the pot. Give them a little cook, and then add water (I like to use broth when I have it). Cook it some more. Then eat it and enjoy! Try a few different types of vegetables to give it some texture. In today's batch I used some leftover green beans that I roasted for dinner a few nights ago, cauliflower remaining from yesterday's lunch, plus some leeks and red peppers and a sad little tomato on it's last leg. Oh, and I threw in some swiss chard for good measure. I could have done half as many veggies, or twice as many. I promise it really doesn't matter. A squeeze of lemon when serving brings out a great flavor (though I can assure you my beloved Grandma didn't do that step). Amounts below are estimated as a guide, but you basically want enough liquid to cover the vegetables.

So when you open your fridge and you see some wrinkled, sad looking veggies -- think of my wonderful Grandma Pearl (obm) and make some soup!

Perfectly Easy Vegetable Soup 
Grandma Pearl's Perfect Vegetable Soup 
Olive Oil
1/2 leek, thinly sliced (or you could use the white parts of 3 green onions, chop and save the green parts to sprinkle at the end; if you eat cooked onions I would chop half of a yellow or sweet onion and use that)
4 cups chopped vegetables (use your imagination -- broccoli, peppers, green beans, cauliflower, turnips, tomatoes, anything)
6 cups water or broth (I use Imagine Kosher Chicken Broth)
Salt and Pepper

Heat a bit of olive oil on medium low in your soup pot. Add the leek and soften gently. If you are using bell peppers, add them in and turn the heat up to medium. Season with salt and pepper and cook to soften the peppers.

Add any uncooked vegetables and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the rest of your vegetables and warm through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper

Add the water or broth. You can use more or less depending on how thick or thin you like your soup. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. It's absolutely fine to cook this longer, and the veggies will continue to soften beautifully.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze a lemon wedge into the soup before serving.


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