Chunky Tomato-Vegetable Soup
|May 25, 2011||Posted by Cheeks under Freezer food, Main Course, Recipe, Vegetarian|
Only I would make soup the day before a string of 80-degree, unseasonably warm and humid days. Because, what you definitely want to eat when the air feels like you’re walking through hot yogurt is….hot liquid. Not so much.
Don’t fault me because I never remember to check the weather. I’m on this diet, see, and I needed to find a way to get as many vegetables into my system as possible. And, let me tell you, this is one fantastic way to do it.
Now that Chicago’s weather has returned to its more normal, 50-and-rainy May climes, it’s the perfect time to dive into this recipe.
I don’t know much about vegetable soups, but I know they are rarely exciting. Thin, flavorless broth surround pale, insipid vegetables – not anything you’d want to eat even on the coldest of days. That’s the problem – the winter temperatures that make us crave soup also aren’t the best for growing vegetables. How to resolve this dillemma?
Well, I’m not quite sure on that point. My FIL helped a resolve a big part by freezing TONS of his garden tomatoes last year to enjoy the year through. I grabbed a bag over Mother’s day, because my MILlie and FIL are overflowingly generous and sweet and thoughtful, and make me take so much stuff every time we visit! Lucky, i am.
So, even though I wanted to make a green spring vegetable soup with the peppers, zucchini, and asparagus I had picked up, I knew I had to do something to make use of those lovely, if frozen, tomatoes. I knew they’d be less-than-fresh after being defrosted, so they had to be cooked. I don’t eat much pasta, so a sauce was out for now. And I had already started making that spring veggie soup when I just decided to combine the efforts and boldly go…where many have gone before.
But I think I go there in a better route, not only because this uber-quick cooking soup lets the veggies retain a good deal of their crunch and texture. It’s also just the simple kind of food I like, where you can taste each ingredient and never have to guess at what you’re eating. The vegetables come together in a fresh bouquet of flavors, tasting like healthy eating should be, yet the soup gets some richness from silky homemade chicken stock and some turkey bacon I threw in for depth, salt, and subtle smokiness. But even without the meat, this is a perfect soup to bid goodbye to the soup-craving days of winter and look forward to the bountiful produce of summer’s salad days.
Chunky Tomato-Vegetable Soup
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, scrubbed (not peeled) and chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 1/2 to 1 cup turkey bacon, kielbasa, or italian sausage (optional)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes and their juices (or a can of diced)
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp celery leaves or parsley, chopped
- 1 can red kidney beans, drained
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot and celery; season and saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent. Add garlic and zucchini and saute 2-3 more minutes or until you start to smell the garlic. (If using a meat product, make a well in the veggies and add it now, allowing it to sear/saute for a few minutes before proceeding.)
Add tomato paste to pot and stir well. Cook for a minute or two or until the veggies are coated in the paste and the paste begins to darken in color somewhat. Stir in the tomatoes and stock, season with S&P, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer soup 10 minutes, to allow flavors to come together and veggies to cook through.
Remove cover from pot and taste broth for seasonings. It will be a little flat (that’s what the vinegar and herbs are for) but should taste deep and vegetal. Add salt if necessary, along with vinegar, leaves/parsley, and beans. Stir well and heat another 5 minutes or until hot and steamy.
Serves 4-6. Also freezes well.