Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Homemade Vegetable Soup

Homemade Vegetable Soup - a meatless vegetable soup made with a variety of vegetables and a rich vegetable stock.

Homemade Garden Vegetable Soup

A miraculous thing happened this past weekend. I made a pot of homemade vegetable soup and when The Veggie Hating Cajun got home, it went like this:

Me: I made some chopped egg sandwiches and homemade vegetable soup. You want me to fix you some?

The Veggie-Adverse Cajun: {wrinkles nose & scowls} Nah. I'm good.

Me: It's really good, you should at least try it.

So I go into the kitchen and decide to fix him a sandwich and a bowl of soup anyway, bring it to him and say "I made you some anyway. Look, at least try it and if you absolutely hate it, you don't have to eat it."

"Okay," he says, "I'll eat it with my eyes closed." Yes y'all. He actually said that!

A hot minute later he says, "Wow. This is REALLY good! That broth is delicious!"

I think to myself, but don't say out loud, Um-hum... you mean that VEGETABLE broth is delicious??

"Um, hum...," I say, "I told you it was good."
As simple as it is, it really is a great soup and truth is, well, I could eat the whole pot myself, and usually do, but since I've been making some major strides with my husband with food - like getting him to try broccoli for the first time in his life and moving him away from a well done and more toward a medium rare steak - I thought, heck lets try the veggie soup. The next day I was heating up leftovers for lunch and asked him if he'd like a bowl, he enthusiastically said "yes, please!" It's truly a miracle.
Just a quick reminder.... this is a blog, not just a "recipe site," and yes, there is a difference! I want to first thank all of you who have supported my work over the years, but if you aren't interested in the chit chat, info, photos, tips and such in a post, as always, you'll find the complete recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll down to the bottom of the post!
Making vegetable soup is something that should be born out of whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand, whether it's the garden, the crisper drawer or freezer. That's the beauty of a good vegetable soup - it's versatile, so use what you have. For instance, I would usually have diced potatoes in my vegetable soup, but had used them all up when I made the onion roasted potatoes. I did have some sweet potatoes, so that's what I used!

Because this is a vegetable soup and not a "beef" vegetable soup, there are a few basic rules to follow though. While a homemade vegetable stock would be perfect, remember you have to use vegetables to make the stock, which you then discard, and then use additional vegetables for the soup itself, a process you may not have time to do. If you do, definitely go for it!

You can certainly also use plain water, though that would make for an awfully bland vegetable soup without the meat, and either chicken broth, or even beef broth can also stand in as your base, for this soup I highly recommend using Kitchen Basics brand vegetable stock. It is dark and rich and made naturally from vegetables and herbs, and is a gorgeous, delicious commercial stock. I love this brand, but especially recommend it for a good vegetable soup - and no, I have no affiliation with the company, I just happen to think it's a high quality commercial stock.

Don't worry, it is widely available - I purchase it at my local Rouse's market, Winn Dixie or Walmart, and it really makes this soup. I prefer controlling the salt myself, so I use unsalted, though, of course, salted will work too. Besides chicken and beef, they have turkey, seafood and even veal.

As most of y'all already know, I usually have several Better than Bouillon bases in my fridge, including vegetable, and it's a beautiful and rich base as well, perfect for this soup. I use this when I just need a cup or two of stock, although it does contain sodium so you need to factor that in when you are seasoning. Remember with all seasonings, add just a bit, then always taste and adjust. You can always add more, but you can't take it away!

As to the vegetables, what I have included are simply suggestions because you can use pretty much any you like. Just remember to dice them, rather than chop, and to first saute fresh, raw veggies like onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, parsnips, butternut or winter squash, then add stock, allowing the veggies to simmer in the stock before finishing the soup. Add in softer veggies such as fresh diced squash or zucchini, tomatoes and any frozen or canned vegetables like green beans, corn and peas last, giving them just enough time to cook through, about 10 minutes longer.

As to the tomatoes, there are some folks who use very heavy tomato and even tomato or V8 juices in their vegetable soup. I like to focus on the other veggies and don't want a heavy tomato base here. Had I had a decent fresh tomato this time of year, I certainly would have used one and included the juices, and in the summer I do that, but for this soup, I used a single can of diced tomatoes, which I drained. You can certainly include the can juices if you prefer.

Speaking of diced... I recently moved into the big 13-cup Kitchen Aid food processor to replace an older duct-taped KA that I have own for 15 years (and which still works). I wanted one I could actually keep out on the countertop, and therefore use regularly, and well... duct tape doesn't really fit into any kitchen decor.

Of course I got the red! Isn't it pretty? Besides having the Exact Slice adjustment where you can change slices from thin to thick without changing out blades, this purchase happened to also come with some bonus blades, a storage case and the dicing attachment set included at the time, which is what made it such a good value overall, and I sure gave it a workout this weekend! I diced the onion, sweet potato, bell pepper, used the entire celery rib, leaves and all, and I didn't even need to scrape the carrots, for both this soup and a stew I'll be sharing soon. Just a good rinse and scrub and drop into the chopper.

Admittedly, even for somebody who cooks a lot, a big food processor like this one, can have a big learning curve too, and that can make it feel a bit of a pain at first. There are so many more things to learn with this one from my original that at first I was thinking, wow, I made a big mistake buying this. I wondered if it was too much machine for my needs. Once you get used to how things assemble, dis-assemble and re-assemble, and how to use what when, well, all I can say is, despite the cleanup a food processor presents, and even though I'm still learning how to use it, I sure do love it now - even for the small stuff!

Now that I've yakked my head off on all this stuff, and because I've been trying to finish this post for three days now, I won't bore you with detailed step by step pics. It's all pretty self explanatory anyway. A quick veggie saute, dump some things in, simmer a little bit and that's really all there is to it!

I served this soup with a warm chopped egg sandwich, because for some reason I had a crazy craving for one. And no, I don't mean egg salad because to me, that's two different things. You'll find the differences at the bottom of my egg salad post.

The next day, I had a craving for popovers, so I made some to go with our leftover soup. And then I made a bean stew with some leftover ham chunks I'd frozen and my honey jalapeno cornbread but after that, I wanted biscuits. I have no idea what's going on because I've also been craving beef nachos for days now too, so I suppose I'll be making some of those too! Crazy.

Here's how to make my homemade vegetable soup though - we'll start there!

For more of my favorite soup recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

Posted by on January 27, 2016

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