Once you get the hang of this basic soup recipe, you can create your own variations using “what’s on hand.” And here’s some ideas on which seasonings to use.
At the end of the summer there’s always more tomatoes than one can eat. This is an inspiration for soup (also tomato sauce). Making a big pot of soup gives you lunch or supper options for the week, or you can easily freeze your “abundant harvest” soup for meals later on.
Ingredients to gather: Carrots, Celery, Onion, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Corn, Vegetable stock
(and see alternative ingredients below)
A simple way to start a soup is with a savory mirepoix.
Mirepoix is the combination of celery, carrots and onion and has been used as a flavor base since the 1700’s in soups, stews, stocks, sauces. Chop as shown and place them in a medium hot pan. You can use a small amount of vegetable stock (or wine) to cook them instead of oil. Stir frequently with a rubber spatula. While they soften and release their flavors, cut your other produce. (This picture shows using a frozen cube of stock) Read about making veggie stock from scraps and cooking without oil.
2. Add Tomato, green peppers and Corn
Cut tomatoes and peppers to your preferred size – depending on how chunky you want your soup. You can use fresh or frozen corn. (it’s so easy to freeze when the corn ripens in abundance)
Add one of these Seasoning Variations and let simmer:
Easy Seasoning Variations:
For “savory” I like Coriander, Cardamom, and Thyme and pepper
More toward Italian – add oregano, rosemary and basil
To go more spicy – Mideast – Cumin and Turmeric, or Curry, and pepper
Mexican - Chili powder, cilantro, lime
3. Add cubed potatoes, additional liquid, and your choice of beans (optional)
I cut the potatoes in 1- 1 1/2 inch pieces for more texture and potato flavor. You can use smaller cubes to cook more quickly
Options for additional liquids – vegetable broth, or in this case I used some canned tomato basil soup (low sodium). Add your choice of beans (optional)
Cook the soup for 50 minutes (or until potatoes soften) Smaller cubes will cook more quickly. Since this has beans, it makes a complete meal along with a lovely salad.
Just Those Three Easy Steps and Soup is made!
Adding a grain instead of potatoes makes a nice variation – barley, brown rice, farro or any of many others would all be delicious
Try different legumes – pinto, black beans, kidney, great northern, lima beans and many more.
Other veggies to try – zucchini and squash (with or without the potatoes); sweet potatoes would be delicious
Artichoke hearts always make a pleasant texture and flavor addition
Or Make a Cream Based Potato Corn Chowder instead of Tomato:
Leave out tomatoes; use vegetable stock or water instead of tomato soup, use more corn and potatoes. Once potatoes are soft place 2 cups of the soup in a blender. (or use an immersion blender) Blend until creamy and return to pot and mix in well. Broccoli would be lovely in this.
This Simple Soup has endless variations – just depending on what you’ve harvested, gotten at the CSA or “what’s in the fridge and freezer?” and your mood. Most importantly – have fun!!