Saturday, March 10, 2012

Making a easy Spring or Fall Vegetable Soup

Here’s a basic vegetable soup in two versions. Choose either the spring or autumn vegetables in the recipe list. The parsley should be cooked slowly at fi  rst to infuse the oil. Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, fi  nely chopped
1⁄4 cup chopped parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large beefsteak tomato, cored and finely chopped
8 cups (2 quarts) chicken broth
1 bay leaf

Spring Vegetables
2 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
2 medium yellow summer squash, roughly chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and roughly chopped
1⁄2 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1⁄2 pound asparagus spears, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1⁄2 pound sugar snap peas, stems and fi  brous veins removed, roughly chopped

Winter Vegetables
4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium acorn squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and roughly chopped
3⁄4 pound yellow-fl  eshed potatoes, such as Yukon golds, peeled and diced
1⁄2 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered
1⁄2 pound cremini or white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over low heat. Swirl in the olive oil, then add the onion and parsley. Cook slowly, stirring often, until the onion is golden, about 7 minutes.

Add the garlic, cook for 15 seconds, then add the tomato. Stir well, raise the heat to medium-high, and pour in the broth, scraping up any browned bits on the pan’s bottom as the broth comes to a simmer.

Stir in the bay leaf and all the spring vegetables (the zucchini, yellow squash, fennel, green beans, asparagus, and sugar snaps) or winter vegetables (the carrots, acorn squash, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and mushrooms).

Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes for the spring vegetables, 45 minutes for the winter ones. Remove the bay leaf; stir in the salt and pepper before serving.

Variations: Stir in 2 cups cooked and drained shaped pasta (ziti, rigatoni, farfalle) during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
For a brighter taste, stir in 2 teaspoons cider or white wine vinegar with the salt.

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