we began to organize material for this article about vegetable
soup, it occurred to us that almost all soups include vegetables,
if not as the main theme, as a chorus that rounds out the
melody of flavors.
One of the things we adore about soup is
the fact that one can serve it as a casual quick lunch, as
an elegant beginning to an elaborate meal or as a hearty main
dish that needs no accompaniment.
Wonderful vegetable soups can be literally
made with whatever you have in the refrigerator. Every
time I make a soup of leftover odds and ends, Im reminded
of that wonderful story about Nail Soup. It goes something
like this, a man has a pot of water with a nail in it, simmering
over a fire. As people pass by, they are curious about
a simmering pot of water with nothing in it but a nail.
When they inquire, he tells them that he is making nail soup,
and as delicious as it will be, it would be even more delicious
is only he had, say, a carrot to add to the pot. He
is given a carrot. The story continues with each person
contributing another vegetable until eventually the hearty
pot of vegetable soup is finished. The clever
man removes the nail and enjoys the soup. I love that
story because other than the nail, of course, that is exactly
how great soup is made.
All stocks are incredibly easy to make and
vegetable stock is no exception. Simply add the white
part of leeks, carrots, celery, onions and unpeeled garlic
cloves to a pot of water and bring to a boil.
Add a bouquet garni (the green part of a leek wrapped around
a parsley sprig, thyme sprig and bay leaf and tie with a string)
and a few peppercorns. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook
for about an hour or so. Strain off the vegetable solids
and you have a delightful vegetable stock, naturally gluten-free.
there are limitless varieties of vegetable soups, there are
generally two basic ways to prepare it.
Clear broth soups start by sautéing
onions, shallots and or garlic and then adding vegetable,
chicken or beef broth and bite-size pieces of vegetables,
herbs and perhaps poultry, beef, gf pasta or beans.
Creamed soups begin by sautéing vegetables
in butter, then adding stock and simmering until the vegetables
are tender. The mixture is transferred to a blender
and pureed, then returned to the pot to re-warm. At
this point cream can be added and usually a chopped and blanched
handful of whatever was just pureed. The final step
in both methods is the final tasting and seasoning.
Dont forget herbs and spices!
Herbs and spices can transform one soup into a completely
different tasting soup, even with the same basic ingredients.
Curry, cumin, basil, oregano and other complimenting spices
and herbs can change a plain vegetable soup into a spicy Latin
soup, an aromatic Indian soup or a fresh Italian soup.
To make your soup as beautiful as it is
delicious, garnish your soup with herbs, sauces and cheeses
that compliment the soups ingredients, flavors and color.
Sprigs of herbs, chopped herbs, cheese shavings, grated cheese,
dollops of gf sour cream, tomato puree are all great choices
for beautiful garnishes. One of our favorite ways to
garnish soup is to fill a squeeze bottle with a flavored sour
cream mixture or puree that is a contrasting color to the
soup and to squeeze out a decorative squiggle on top of the
soup just before serving.
This month we bring you a lovely Roasted
Vegetable Soup with flavors of Greece. Eggplant,
zucchini, tomatoes, onions and garlic are all roasted, simmered
and then pureed into a fabulous and satisfying soup.
Now that youre in the mood for warm
bowl of soup, here are a few more ideas:
of Carrot & Ginger
Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup
& Carrot Soup
Fennel & Potato Soup
Yellow Pepper & Roasted Tomato Soup
& Vegetable Soup