It’s fun to create a harvest soup inspired by your garden. Make plenty and freeze it for handy, delicious meals this Winter.
We are harvesting our fresh produce as it ripens in a rush and in-between rain. It’s time to put some soup together to freeze for winter enjoyment. The CSA carrots, onions and celery are for the “Mirepoix”. Mirepoix is a savory combination of veggies to sauté for the wonderful beginning for soups, stews, broths, veggie/rice dishes and more.
We’ll also use garlic, delicious wax beans, cabbage for a bit of “tang”, mushrooms, and some “just dug” potatoes. The tomatoes are actually the end of last year’s “so-easy-to-do” frozen whole tomatoes (just wash, dry, seal in a freezer bag); they will cook into the soup easily. For the “broth”, I’m going to use the tomato “juice” left over when Hubby cooked some of this year’s tomatoes for sauce to freeze. The corn is frozen from earlier this summer.
Celery – 2-3 stalks
Onion – one medium
Carrots – 2-3
Garlic 2 cloves chopped
Potatoes – 10 small (more or less per your preference)
Tomato Juice – 1 quart – low sodium
Additional vegetable stock or water as needed
Cumin, Coriander – 1 tsp each (or more)
Pepper to taste
Making the Mirepoix
Frodo always shows up when he hears me chopping. His eyes are spiriting pieces of carrot off the cutting board into his mouth.
I have the veggies for the Mirepoix chopped into uneven sizes –
roughly ¾ to 1 inch. Some like to chop these veggies small and even, so they will cook quickly and evenly. I cut mine unevenly; I like the way the smaller pieces blend their flavor into the broth, and then there are bigger pieces, that will still have their own texture and unique flavors when you bite into them.
Oil-free sautéing is healthier and easy (and so is the clean up afterward).
Let your pan heat up to high before adding anything. Turn it down to medium as you add the onions and celery. Stir frequently with a soft spatula and watch as these two become a bit translucent and give off their moisture easily; this will then help sauté the carrots and garlic when you add them in a bit. You can add some drops of water or veggie broth or even tomato juice if things start to stick.
Adding spice to the Mirepoix
After I add the carrots and garlic, I also add whatever other spices are inspiring me. Today it was Coriander and Cumin – about a teaspoon of each (though for the amount of soup I made, I’m sure one could use more) also some pepper. Frequently stir with spatula and sauté; I added several tablespoons of the tomato juice as things started to brown.
Add the potatoes next, since these take longer to cook.
Again I chop them “big” – 1 ½ inch. I like to be able to taste them, and to not turn to mush when reheated I added the quart of tomato juice as the broth.
Leave the mushroom pieces big to hold their texture and flavor.
15 minutes after the potatoes start to simmer, I added the mushrooms and the wax beans
Then the frozen tomatoes and corn were added along with some additional vegetable broth from my freezer. You can read more about cooking without oil and also making vegetable stock with scraps in this blog.
Add the chopped cabbage last for a subtle zing to your stew.
As everything came to a simmer again, I put the cabbage on top and just let it steam a bit before I turned the soup off and let it cool for putting in freezer containers. I wanted the cabbage to be just an added zing of flavor to the soup as you eat it, rather than have the whole soup taste like cabbage.
With some prepping and cooking and stirring today, I now have plenty of quick, easy, flavorful lunches and suppers in the freezer.
At the beginning of the each week I’ll poke through the freezer and see what soup, or chili or stuffed peppers or zucchini boats I want to put out to thaw and use that week.
With the vegetable soup, I can reheat it to eat it as is, or add any variety of lentil, bean or even quinoa as I heat it up – or maybe serve it over brown rice or barley.
Put your potted kale in a protected area where you’ll be able to enjoy it all winter.
To add some green to a meal, as the soup is almost done reheating, you can add some kale chopped into small pieces. With just a little bit of protection on the screened in porch, kale doesn’t mind the freezing cold of Pennsylvania winters, and I’ll snip some to add to my soups all winter long!