Winter. Salads are cold and unappealing. Here’s my recipe for a simple vegetable soup.
Mise en Place these aromatics:
- 1/2 Tbsp. crushed red pepper
- 2 Tbsp. EVOO
- 2 cloves garlic, cleaned and minced
- 1/2 stalk celery, cleaned and chopped
- 2 lbs onions, cleaned and chopped
- 1/2 lb carrots, cleaned and sliced
- 4-5 bay leaves. I tie them up in cheesecloth to make them easy to retrieve.
- 1 Tbsp. salt (vary to your taste)
In a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot:
- start medium heat
- add the EVOO
- add the crushed red pepper and garlic. Swirl the oil and wait for the heat to release the chili oils and activate the garlic. Don’t overdo it – overcooked garlic becomes bitter fast.
- Add the carrots, onions and celery in that order.
- Saute, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Take your time here, as you’re looking to caramelize the onions and carrots – this gives the soup much of its flavor. This can take me up to 30 minutes.
While the aromatics are cooking, clean and chop the greens. A favorite mix:
- 1/2 lb white cabbage
- 2 lbs bok choy. If you don’t have bok choy, use more white cabbage.
- 2 lbs mixed collard greens / kale / whatever dark green veg struck your fancy at the store or Farmer’s Market
The cabbage and / or bok choy add some sweetness and a nice tooth feel.
When the aromatics are nicely caramelized, add the bay leaves, the cabbage and the greens. Add tap water to within about 2 inches of the top of the uncooked greens. Cover and simmer, stirring every 10 minutes or so until the cabbage and greens are tender.
You’re done. We eat the soup as is, or add:
- grilled chicken thighs, chopped
- more herbs and spices – sage, thyme, fresh ground black pepper, anything yummy. The base soup mostly tastes of vegetables and can be redirected to any flavor profile.
Warm and filling. We put the whole soup pot in the fridge (after cooling) and dip soup anytime.
P.S. – don’t eat the bay leaf bag…