Soup Love

The biting cold that has suddenly struck Boston has us all agreeing that “bone-chilling” is no hyperbole!
Having braved the Arctic chills and wind tunnels to make our way back to our dorms after class, cranking up the thermostat and putting on a thick sweater just doesn’t quite cut it. The best path to restoring a truly warm, head-to-toe feeling is by warming up from the inside – that is, with a comforting, steaming-hot, savory, veggie-packed, protein-rich soup. I’ve made some variation of this recipe three times in the past week alone, substituting and tweaking the ingredients according to what I had in the fridge, and I can vouch for its magic warming properties. Cook up a big batch – you’ll want leftovers that you can reheat for a quick way to “defrost”.

My friend and fellow Slow Foodie Zack taught me the trick of letting the canned tomatoes heat up, thicken and caramelize the other veggies before adding vegetable stock. It adds that much more depth and flavor to each savory spoonful.
The ingredient list is very adaptable to what you have on hand – get creative with the herbs, spices and veggies. I have a very relaxed approach to cooking and rarely follow recipes exactly, and I advise you to trust your instincts and your nose as you go.
Please enjoy & let me know if you come up with any original spins on this classic soup!
WINTER STAPLE SOUP (easy & vegan)

Ingredients:
1 tbsp oil
1-inch thick slice onion, diced
2 carrots, finely chopped
handful chopped leeks (I used bagged frozen leeks from Trader Joe’s)
1/3 bell pepper, red or green (or both)
1 large clove garlic, very finely chopped
⅓ can tomatoes (remove tops and chop roughly) + some of the pureed liquid
1 teaspoon each dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram (or just use salt-free Italian seasoning)
½ teaspoon each cumin, curry powder
1 bay leaf
cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper to taste
about 3 cups vegetable broth (add more or less depending on what consistency you like)
1 can beans (I used white cannellini because they take on a wonderful buttery flavor after simmering, but you can sub lentils, black beans, etc.)
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s harvest medley mixed grains (this is a lovely mix of Israeli couscous, baby garbanzos, orzo & some other grains. You can sub quinoa, wheat berries, or whatever you have in your pantry, or omit altogether.)1 cup greens like kale, collard greens or spinachInstructions:
Heat oil in a soup pot and fry up your onion on medium heat. When it starts getting soft add carrots, leeks and bell pepper and continue frying about 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir until it is lightly browned and the veggies are starting to cook through.
Add the canned tomatoes + some of the tomato puree from the can and let simmer until the heat evaporates some of the water, letting the tomato caramelize the veggies.
Add all your herbs & spices, stir and add broth, beans and grains. Cover pot and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
Stir again, throw in your greens and turn off heat – wait 5 minutes for the soup to reach a perfect serving temperature and for the kale/greens to soften (if you use spinach, stir it in 2 minutes before serving). Enjoy with freshly ground black pepper, a slice of crusty bread and a large side salad.

Written by Slow Food NU Director of Administration, Sonia Banaszczyk

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