Sunday, January 18, 2009

Towanda Makes Soup

I made vegetable soup today, for a church gathering we had tonight. I'd never made soup before and my cielo thought I should write the recipe down, so here you go.

Towanda's Veggie Soup

First, think about what you want to have in your soup. Think about how they always start soups on Iron Chef: Carrots, Onions, Celery (the fancy-pants name for that is Mirepoix, which I never would have known without Iron Chef). So I'll have to have carrots, onions, celery.

And garlic. Gotta have garlic.

And beans. Maybe one of this multi-bean mix things (without the seasoning packet).

And a parsnip. I don't know why, but it should have a parsnip. Mostly because I just like saying "parsnip."

And corn. And tomatoes, for a splash of bright color.

Oh, I have fresh rosemary...frozen in the freezer, but still fresh. That might be good. And some other herbs, whatever we've got over there in the spice rack.

And I should get some vegetable broth. Don't want a watery-tasting soup.


Now I go to the local Sunflower. We have carrots and onion and garlic at home, so I don't need those.

Get the celery, and the parsnip. Remember that you forgot about potatoes -- what's a veggie soup without potatoes? Get potatoes (3 yukon golds).

Get two box-thingies of organic veggie broth. Wonder if that'll be enough. Tell yourself you can add some water if necessary.

Get a can of whole tomatoes.

Go to the frozen section because you know they have fresh-frozen veggies from Oregon (I'm blanking on the name now), organic from sustainable farms. Pick up corn. Look at the spinach. Think about it. Decide not to.

Go hunting for beans. They have multi-bean selections in the bulk section. Hmm...7 bean or 10 bean? 10 bean also has pearled barley...that'd be a nice addition. Get the 10-bean. The colors are also brighter, some red lentils and red beans brighten it up. Probably about 1.5 cups.

Talk with my cielo -- can you think of anything else? What about spinach? Decide to get the spinach.

Buy the stuff. Go home. Soak the beans overnight.


Now, chop the carrots, onion, celery. Not to fine, just chunky, cuz it's soup. I have no idea how much of each, I figure about equal amounts of each should do it. Probably about 1.5 cups each. Less onion than that actually.

Turns out the onion was a purple onion...I was imagining yellow, but purple will be really nice.

Chop up 3 cloves garlic.

Pour extra-virgin olive oil in the bottom of the stock pot, enough to coat the bottom pretty well. Dump in the MIREPOIX and let that cook on...medium-ish heat? Oh, salt, and pepper (but not too much pepper). Be amazed at how good that smells, and it's just carrots, onions, celery.

Chop up the other stuff, except the corn and spinach which are already ready. Discover there's a small zucchini in the fridge, chop that up, too. Stir the mirepoix every so often.

By the way, don't peel any of the vegetables. Daddy always says most of the nutrition is in the peel, plus it looks more rustic.

When the onions start to look translucent and the carrots and celery look...uh, sweaty, toss in the rosemary. Then add other stuff in the spice rack: oregano, parsley, basil, savory, thyme, saffron. A little more salt. Let the herbs cook in there a few minutes.

Look at the crockpot. Is it big enough? My cielo thinks so.

Put beans in the crockpot. Add the other chopped veggies, top with the mirepoix/herb mix. Realize there is no room to add any liquid, much less the corn and spinach and tomatoes. Put it all back in the stock pot, add the corn, spinach, tomatoes, and stock. Stir. Add a little more salt.

Add a little water to the veggie stock box-thingies to swirl out the veggie goodness still in the bottom. Pour that in the pot.

Let it all come to a boil, and boil a bit. Then turn it down to low to simmer until it's time for the meeting. Which was, like, 6 hours.

Somewhere along the line discover there's a little bit of pasta in the cabinet, little multi-colored spiral-things, not enough to call a meal. Toss those in.

Have your cielo taste it, tell her to go ahead and add more salt since she thinks she needs it.

Enjoy the smell all afternoon while you watch the inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

Enjoy with bread and interesting conversation. Look forward to having it again tomorrow.