It was 32 degrees here last night, cold all day and light snow is expected tonight. It’s been snowing heavily in the mountains (yeah!). Monday’s CSA delivery had no chance of becoming anything other than farm-fresh soup. Other than garlic, broth, olive oil and one small sweet potato, I used what was in my delivery box and made a big batch of soup. It could have easily been a salad had I not cooked the ingredients.
I forgot to put the spinach in the before photo (my share box was absolutely overflowing again). Imagine a sweet potato where that gorgeous egg plant is and imagine it surrounded by rich, vibrant spinach leaves. As I was busy chopping away, I decided a sweet potato played into this soup better than the eggplant, so I switched those out at the last minute. I’ll figure out something with the egg plant later this week. Eggplant parmesan with a homemade tomato sauce?
Here’s the before picture.
Here’s the after picture.
Salad in the form of warm, soothing soup
What you need (anything you want, but I used the following)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 bay leaves
2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks (about 3/4 inch cubes)
6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 cup water
3 carrots, washed and cut into chunks (don’t you love those chubby carrots)
3 celery stalks, washed and chopped into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces, leaves and all
2 cups washed, trimmed and sliced green beans (1 – 2 inch pieces)
2 cups washed and chopped zucchini (1 inch pieces)
corn kernels from 1 ear of corn (uncooked, removed from the cob)
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 – 2 cups spinach, washed and chopped into large pieces
herbs such as thyme, rosemary and basil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
what you do
• Heat the olive oil over low heat in a large stock pot. Add onion and bay leaves and stir frequently for 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add sweet potato, stir occasionally and cook 5 more minutes. Pour 1 cup of the broth over the vegetables, increase heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.
• Add the next 5 cups of broth and the 1 cup of water and bring to a light boil or simmer. Add the carrots, celery and green beans and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and corn and simmer another 5 minutes.
• Add the diced tomatoes and the herbs and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the spinach, cook another 2 to 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper, remove the bay leaves and serve. Top with a touch of shredded cheese if you’d like (Parmesan or Monterey Jack is good).
These cooking times are flexible, but I’ve found this “layering” method works well with so many different types of vegetables. Put the veggies that take the most time to cook in the pot first, ending with things like herbs, tomatoes and greens that take much less time. I like my soups with crunchy vegetables and vibrant colors and if you over-cook the soup, you lose both characteristics.
Go forth and make salad into soup on cold days!