Kitchen Garden Journal
- Published on Sunday, October 10, 2010, 04:54
- Written by Tim Wilcox
Since the hurricane blew over there has been a sharp chill in the air and it’s got us thinking about soup. And eating a lot of it, too.
There are so many wonderful soups that one can create so simply from the colorful palette of autumn vegetables. We love soups with beans. They are incredibly easy, and there are few better ways to enjoy the coarser greens like kale and escarole than tossing them into a rich bean soup. Just throw some onion and garlic in a pan, sauté for a bit and add some tomato puree and the soaked beans. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and away you go. No need to use stock because the beans make their own broth. Add the greens in the last 20 minutes so they don’t overcook.
Recently we’ve “discovered” a whole class of pureed soups that are based on water, sautéed onion, and potato. Add any vegetable you like to these three ingredients and you’ve got a simple soup that brings out its very essence. All you need is a few ingredients and an immersion blender and you can whip up an incredible variety of these soups in about a half an hour.
Perhaps the simplest of these is potato-leek soup. Just sauté the onion and leeks together, add cubes of peeled potato and water to cover, simmer until cooked, blend and finish with cream. Sprinkle a little chives or parsley and voila! Done.
Take this soup and substitute carrots for the leeks. Add a few slices of ginger if you like. Cauliflower makes the silkiest cream soup of them all. So easy. What about broccoli? Throw in some grated cheddar cheese after pureeing for the best cheddar-broccoli soup ever. Spinach? You bet. Go out and grab the last of the season’s sweet corn and use that, too. You can add some bacon at the beginning and leave it chunky if you like for delicious corn chowder.
Once you get the basic concept, it’s like a whole world is open to you.
It reminds me a lot of the recent Häagen-Dazs ice cream ad campaign. They have this new product line called “5” of ice creams made with just 5 ingredient s: milk, cream, sugar, eggs and fill in the blank. It’s a great concept. Less is more. Purity, simplicity, and variety.
For those of you who prefer written out recipes to descriptive ones, here’s a link to a classic Moosewood carrot soup with lots of variations.