27 August 2009

Souped Up

Cooler weather is starting to make an appearance (although after the summer we've had in Ontario, "continuing" might be a better choice of words than "starting"...) You can definitely feel autumn in the air now. Some might lament summer's end, but I eagerly anticipate this time of year: comfortable temperatures, dahlias and sunflowers and zinnias, fresh tomatoes, changing leaves, pumpkins, and soup.

I'm a soup fan any time but there's something about the changing seasons that just calls out for it. And with the abundance of fresh, local vegetables available, it's the perfect time to take advantage of both the weather and the harvest.

Domicile's Use-What-You-Have Soup

1 Tbs (approx) olive oil
1 large onion (mine came with greens attached, which I also used), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, washed but unpeeled, chopped
2 large orange carrots, sliced
1 med-large white carrot, sliced
handful of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2" pcs
salt and pepper to taste
fresh or dried herbs, if desired (savoury would be good in this, or possibly a touch of curry powder. Feel free to experiment)
5 cups (approx) chicken stock

Heat oil in medium stockpot over med-low heat. Add onion; cook until soft. Add garlic; cook until soft (do not burn). Add stock. Add potatoes and seasonings. Cover pot, turn heat to med-high, and bring to simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes and add carrots. Continue simmering, covered, until potatoes and carrots are soft enough to pierce with a fork, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add green beans earlier or later, depending on how soft you like them (add at the last minute for near-raw crunchiness; in the last 10 minutes for a soft texture). Remove from heat. Ladle into bowls and serve with buttered slices of fresh, crusty bread.

Serves 4

This recipe lends itself perfectly to experimentation. Feel free to add or substitute ingredients. Good options include sweet potato, canned beans, pasta, leeks, greens, mushrooms, or squash. Bear in mind that some ingredients (pasta) require extra liquid. You can substitute beef or vegetable stock for the chicken stock. You can even double or quadruple the recipe, if you wish (and since the soup is even better the next day, leftovers are a plus).

When the weather is cool outside, there's nothing nicer than the delicious smell of food cooking in a cozy kitchen. Enjoy!

(Photo by Domicile)

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