Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Almost Spring Soup, aka stretching the pantry in a time of need

Serves 4


We’ve all been in this position: you’re 5 or 6 days overdue on a trip to the grocery store, there’s no time to go, maybe you’re feeling a little under the weather (I’m being assaulted by a spring cold as I write this), and you really need something nourishing and fresh. What’s in the fridge? Hmm…some celery that could be used as string to tie up packages, a few carrots…virtually nothing else. Even though I’m dreaming of the wonderful vegetables that come with spring gardens, I don’t have any of them yet. Time to turn to the pantry.

We all know that frozen vegetables are picked at their peak of ripeness and frozen within a few hours. At least that’s what the people on the Food Network tell us. But many vegetables get tough and gummy when frozen, so I only keep around the ones that either defy that trend, or that I know I can puree or bake into some other dish. In other words, I tend to favor spinach, peas, corn, and green beans. Another frozen staple: the on-going bag of vegetable bits. All of my nubbins, peels, leaves and stalks that don’t end up in the composter get tossed into a freezer bag and saved for days like this. A homemade vegetable broth will elevate frozen-vegetable-soup to something delightful and healthful.

In this bag I had onion and garlic skins, celery tops/bottoms, parsley stems and squash nubbins. I simmered this mix for about an hour in about 5 C water, then strained.


Now the soup. Potatoes are great for soup that you’re going to puree because they give it body and creaminess. After that pretty much any vegetable will do.

5 C broth

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

about 1 1/2 sliced carrots

1 onion, chopped

Simmer this mix for about 20 minutes, until carrots and potatoes are getting tender.

Add your frozen vegetables (basking here, looking like a portrait of frosted-over springtime):


Simmer 10-12 more minutes until vegetables are tender. Puree about 3/4 of the vegetables in the food processor with a few tablespoons of milk. Add the puree back into the pot. Season with salt and pepper, serve with a little dollop of sour cream.

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