Yes, I know that half the world is still enjoying summer – but it’s the end of summer and soup is a wonderful way of preserving all those beautiful summer and fall vegetables.
I also know that the other half of the world is still enjoying (?) winter – and what’s more welcoming than a warming bowl of soup? Plus, it’s a great way of using up the odd bits in the fridge.
There are 2 definite schools of thought on what constitutes a good soup:
In the U.S. a good soup is expected to be a hearty, chunky bowlful of vegetables, pasta, meat, etc, like my family favorite Vegetable Beef:
In most of Europe soup is more often a thick purée, like this summery Gazpacho de Andaluz
Yes, I know in the U.S. one finds chunky gazpacho, but the traditional is always puréed.
One can make soup quickly and easily from any vegetable and it almost always freezes well. Some things, like pasta and potatoes, tend to break up a bit when thawed and reheated.
But that problem is eliminated with puréed soup.
Some vegetables, like both summer and winter squashes, are substantial enough that they will make a lovely soup on their own.
Other vegetables, like spinach or tomato, need a base to get a thick, creamy soup – without the cream.
Here are 2 bases that I use:
1 medium onion
1 medium potato
1 – 2 cups chicken stock
1 tbs butter
Peel and chop onion. In medium saucepan sauté onion in butter over medium heat until tender. Cut potato into small dice 1/2 x 1/4 inch, you can peel or not… I usually don’t bother. Add potato, stock and vegetable of your choice to the pan, cover and simmer until done. Purée.
Note: For some soups (potato & leek, pea, tomato, etc.) I add a couple of ribs of celery, chopped and sautéed with the onion.
1/4 cup white rice
1 cup chicken stock
Cook rice in stock until very tender. Purée until smooth. Add cooked vegetables, more stock and purée again.
Either base can be stirred into a larger quantity of chicken or beef soup to act as a thickener
I have been filling my freezer with soups this week. You already know about the Zucchini Soup.
This week I made Green Bean Soup. Either will be perfect for a light lunch this winter (or, for mon mari, with a sandwich)
Like most soups, quantities are not important, but I’ll give you an idea…..
Green Bean Soup
2lbs (900gr) green beans, trimmed and cut
4 medium shallots, peeled and chopped
4oz (120gr) bacon
chicken, ham or vegetable broth
In a large skillet, sauté bacon and shallots until shallots are tender. Add green beans, 1/2 cup water, cover and simmer until beans are very tender, about 30 minutes.
Purée in a blender, adding stock and / or water to get your desired consistency and flavor. Taste as you work.
Note: Unlike zucchini or potato soup, which whip into a creamy soups quickly, this required quite a bit of time in the blender at high speed before it lost it’s chunky, grainy texture and became smooth.
Cool, put into containers and freeze.
And my friend Lydia has a blog devoted to all things soup: Soup Chick
Remember – you can put almost anything into a soup…. Have some fun!