The good news about this bone-chilling cold is that it is prime soup weather. I happen to adore soups, and well, my mom makes the best soups. However, whenever I ask how she made it, she usually just shrugs and says a little bit of this, a can of this, a pinch of this. In other words, there’s no real recipe.
This drives me nuts.
Yet, it finally served me well.
Due to an array of vegetables like this celery root - is that the ugliest thing ever or what?! – that are piled in my produce drawer, I’ve decided to wing it in the kitchen and follow some loose soup-making rules for my mom’s vegetable soup.
Step 1. Sautee your veggies. The one consistent thing mom does when making most soups is start with what she calls her ‘trilogy’: onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in a little olive oil. Once that mixture is softened, add other vegetables. I needed to use up: celery root, squash, zucchini, cabbage, potatoes, etc.
Step 2. Add some liquid. I added a quart of chicken broth and a cup of red wine.
Step 3. Add in the canned goods. Mom adds a can of Rotel tomatoes (for some added kick) and a spoon or two of tomato paste. She also likes to add beans to her soups. I just added a can of black beans and a can of kidney beans because I had them in my cabinet.
Step 4. Add in the spices. I went with some dried parsley, Italian seasonings, crushed red pepper, and a bay leaf.
Step 5. Let simmer. Cook over simmering heat for about 20 minutes, or until veggies are completely softened. I had so many vegetables that I needed to add a little bit of water to my pot of soup.
My soup turned out pretty good. Not as good as mom’s. I liked that the Rotel tomatoes gave it a little kick, that it produced a good amount of leftovers, and used up a lot of goods from my fridge. It also got me to be a little more spontaneous in the kitchen, and that’s never a bad thing. I’m calling my bowl ‘clear-out-your-fridge’ vegetable soup.