Happy Thursday, Zesters!
That’s right… As you may have noticed, Miss Kristi and I have new blogging days, but do not fear! We are still here for your weekly Zest updates, inspirations, and ideas 🙂
Well school is just around the corner (boo!) which means its time to swap out my beloved 2 hour cooking sessions for something a little more practical. Ain’t nobody got time for that with a full school load! So I’ve whipped up a quick, simple, and relatively “hands-free” recipe that is easy on the prepping and even easier on the cooking. A delicious garden veggie soup that can be made in small or big batches to last you a few days… What could be better?! I’ve also included a how-to on making your own vegetable stock so you don’t have to keep buying that ridiculous store bought junk. Did I mention it will save you money? Keep reading to find out how!
Garden Vegetable Soup
– 4 cups water
– 1/3 cup olive oil
– 1 tablespoon rosemary
– 6 full bay leaves
– 1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes
– 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
– 1 bulb fennel
– 5 stalks celery
– 2 ears corn
– 2 heads broccoli
– 2 small/medium sweet potatoes
– 1/2 red onion
– salt and pepper to taste
Note: this oversized recipe yields about 10 servings. Adjust the size for your needs!
The great thing about this recipe is that it is completely modifiable. Whatever you have in your kitchen, throw it in! It’s meant to be that “end-of-the-week-I’m-too-busy-to-go-grocery-shopping” type meal, so don’t worry about getting too choosy with your veggies. One thing I will recommend trying however is the fennel. Its a fantastic and a completely underused, and underrated, vegetable that everyone should give a taste! It has a black licorice/ anise flavor with a tasty earthiness that I think you will enjoy. Because it is such an underused veg, I included a little video tutorial link on how to properly prepare it… How do you think I learned how to do it? 😉
“How to cut up fennel” video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13MSQnh1O2s
Hope that helps!
Let’s begin by making the broth. Add your liquids (water and oilive oil) along with all your spices and herbs (rosemary, garlic, chili flakes, bay leaves, salt, pepper… and whatever other spices you fancy). You can also add other liquids such as white wine or even milk to make a creamier base. To make a vegetable broth, you will add in what I refer to as your “veggie leftovers,” that is, all the normal things you might throw away when chopping up your vegetables. Celery and fennel tops and bottoms, potato skins, corn ears after they’ve been “striped”, carrot ends, tomato juices, broccoli or cauliflower stems… The list is endless. You can see how this can potentially save you money… Instead of throwing away all those leftovers, you coul throw em’ in a Ziplock and store them until you want to make a soup. Simple as that!
Leave your broth covered and simmering with all your goodies for about an hour – remember when I said “hands free”? I meant it! You’ll notice the broth will begin to change colors – a yellowish brown, much more reminiscent of the ones you buy at the store, only homemade! From here you will strain out all those extra vegetable odds and ends, while leaving in the spices. I used an oversized straining spoon to do this. I find it simpler than whipping out the strainer and another pot and yadda-yadda-yadda…
Now it’s time to chop up all your vegetables (if you haven’t already done so to add them to your broth).
Next step, throw your veggies in that delicious pot of simmering homemade broth! Let them stew in the covered pot for about 30 minutes. Some vegetables cook faster than others so be mindful of this (i.e. broccoli takes longer than onion, potato longer than corn, etc.). If you want your veggies al dente (a little firm and crunchy but still cooked) then maybe check the soup before the 30 minute mark. If you like soft vegetables, a little after 30 minutes will work. Either way, it’s pretty difficult to mess up – perfect for the college student lifestyle!
After 30 minutes (give or take) of hands-free cooking, your soup is ready! Scoop on a dollop of fat free Greek yogurt, garnish with a sprig of fennel and voila! A delightfully simple garden fresh vegetable soup. Buon apetito, Zesters!
don’t be Cambell’s, be original!