Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving: the soup

Thanksgiving or not, this is a great time of year for soup.  I find few things as satisfying as making a pot of soup.

This is a basic catch-all autumn vegetable soup.  Clean out the fridge, chop it all up, add some good stock, and a bit of thickener (pasta, rice, barley, or oats -- yes, oats), and you can eat for a week.  Dazzle your Thanksgiving guests with a cup of this soup as a first course. 

Here's everything I put in my soup:

From the left-- a large onion, peeled parsnip, half a head of savoy cabbage, bulb of fennel, celery, carrots, well-rinsed leeks.  Oops -- took the photo too early.  I also added six cloves of garlic.

Chop all the veggies.  Add everything except the cabbage to a pot filmed with some oil.  Saute until tender.  Add cabbage, and cover all with stock. (I used unsalted, homemade turkey stock.)  Thyme, bay leaf, salt, pepper.

Like many other recipes I've blogged here, there's much latitude for your creativity.  Add rice or pasta if you like them.  Use veggie broth to keep it wholly vegetarian.  A couple tomatoes squeezed into the soup adds a very nice dimension, too, or a tablespoon or two of tomato paste added with the sauteing veggies.  You could start out by sauteing some cut-up bacon with your veggies.  Dang, that's good, too.  Possible you have a rind of cheese, from pecorino or parmigiano?  Throw that in.  Beans?  Add them if you like them. 

Sauteing veggies.

Simmer 30 mins.  Added half a cup of rolled oats to thicken the soup a bit.  Works remarkably well for that.   
Everything in the pot, covered with stock.

Rolled oats, to thicken the stock and add body to it.

This is the kind of soup that is ten times better the next day than the day it is made.

Just before you serve the soup, drizzle a bit of good olive oil on each bowl as you serve it to your guests.  Or toast some good Italian bread, rub it with raw garlic, and put that crostino in the bottom of the bowl, and ladle soup on top.  Pass grated cheese at the table.

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