I used to start off with onions in olive oil in a big soup pot, but this past weekend, I learned on America’s Test Kitchen, that onions should be cooked in butter, so they don’t become bitter. So… I started off melting some butter in my largest pot, while I chopped up the onion. Once I added the chopped onions, I added some salt, too, and then a single shallot.
Next, I added the root vegetables… three parsnips, a rutabaga and four carrots. These quantities are just what I happened to have on hand. Usually, I add turnips, too, but didn’t see any that I liked this week; nor did I have any leeks. With each addition, I added a bit more salt, and I added some olive oil, too. Then I put the lid on them and let them sweat… the combination of heat, salt, oil and the vegetables’ own moisture makes them sweat, drawing out their flavors. Next went in part of the soup herb blend, some thyme, oregano and rosemary. Later on, I removed the herbs’ stems. Sometimes, I’ll use just parsley and dill, but I add those later, since they are more tender. I order as much of the produce as I can online, from a local supplier who buys all of their products from local and regional farms, and as much as possible, I try to buy organic. I have never heard of anyone dying due to lack of enough pesticides in their diet.
Potatoes are next. I always peel them carefully, partly because I don’t like an earthy taste to my soup, but also because potatoes always seem to have that greenish cast beneath their skins and I’ve read that green substance is not good for us. So, I remove all of it.
Once the potatoes are in the pot, it’s time to add some liquid. I start with that entire container of vegetable broth, then add some bottled water. I like Deer Park, but you can use whatever you prefer. Our tap water doesn’t agree with me, so I don’t use it for soup.
Usually two cans of canellini beans are next, but I only had one, and usually a small can of diced tomatoes, but this time I didn’t have any, so I used a couple of fresh tomatoes, instead. Not quite as good, but good enough.
Then, I add some frozen vegetables. I like a hearty soup and I can’t always get everything I want fresh. So, I usually add some frozen shoepeg corn, some petite peas and lima beans. The corn adds a bit of sweetness, the peas some fiber and the lima beans some additional substance and structure. I added some frozen spinach to this soup, too, but it was not available for the photo shoot.
Time for the soup to come up to a boil, before I turn it down to a simmer. The frozen vegetables cool it down considerably, so I turn the heat up quite a bit.
Generally, I spend about an hour and a half to two hours making a pot of soup, from start to finish. Then I let it cool down a bit before I put it into those plastic containers with the screw-on lids, and I let it cool again, before I put the containers into the refrigerator.
I have a soup following at work. Usually, I’m carrying three or four servings of soup to work each day.
This past weekend, I also made some butternut squash soup, but, alas, I have no photos of that soup. I plan to make some more next weekend, though, and will try to get some photos.
Photos courtesy of Paul Del Rossi