Okay, so I know I just said that I wasn’t going to be around for awhile, but I absolutely cannot let the last of cold weather pass without adding another addition to my concept cooking series. Who knows–maybe I will be hit with more ideas that I absolutely can’t resist sharing over the next month.
These basic vegetable soups are wonderful things to have on hand–you make a batch on the weekend and then you have an easy heat-and-serve vegetable dish for the rest of the week.
Creamy Vegetable Soup
Cooked vegetable + cooked onion + broth + seasonings
What you need
- A vegetable–almost anything will work. I love spinach, peas, cauliflower, squash, sweet potato, bell peppers, and carrots.
- stock or broth
- garlic (optional)
- splash of cream or dollop of yogurt (optional)
- flavorings of your choosing. Suggestions:
- curry powder
- chili powder
- lemon juice
- fresh or dried herbs
What to do
Step 1: Cook your veggies, onion and garlic. Roasting is my favorite method–it’s easy, doesn’t require much oil, and really brings out the flavors. If you don’t feel like roasting the veggies, or if your vegetables are very delicate, you can also chop and saute them, or just boil them in the broth. You want the vegetables to be soft so they are easy to blend. Onion may take longer than other vegetables to cook–make sure that the onion is tender and sweet before you proceed to the next step. Hints:
- I like to roast an entire head of garlic along with my veggies. You don’t have to peel or anything–just roast until the garlic is soft and mushy inside, then cut off the tips and squeeze out as many cloves as you like for your soup. The remainder is great spread on toast.
- If you’re in a rush, try using pre-cooked vegetables like roasted peppers from a jar or frozen pureed winter squash.
Step 2: Puree. Add your vegetables to a pot and cover with broth or stock. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Puree the mixture, either using an immersion blender or in batches in a normal blender. (If it resists blending, add a bit more stock or water to the blender.)
Step 3: Fine tune texture and flavor. If you are feeling ambitious, you can run your puree through a strainer or food mill to make it extra smooth. Add the puree back to the soup pot and continue thinning with water and broth until it reaches your desired consistency. Add whatever flavorings you feel like using. Let the soup simmer for a bit to let the flavors meld.
These soups keep well in the refrigerator. They tend to thicken up a bit when cold, so you may want to add a touch of water to your soup when you reheat it. Have fun with garnishes–they take this type of soup to the next level.
Possible end results
Clockwise from top left: carrot orange, spiced butternut squash, spinach with lemon, and cauliflower curry.