Monday, November 3, 2014

Recipe: Hearty Vegetable Soup

It all started with three rutabagas found on sale at the local grocery store. The first was made into rutabaga fries. The second found its fate in lanttulaatikko, a Finnish rutabaga Christmas casserole. And then there was one. It went towards livening up my vegetable soup recipe.

Sunday meal prep for the week ahead has often consisted of transforming any questionable vegetables in my fridge into a big pot of soup. Initially because my spice collection consisted of a lone bottle of pepper, I seasoned the soup by way of canned diced tomatoes "with herbs and spices". Though my arsenal of dollar store spices has since grown, I haven't felt the need to use any additional spices in my soups. I enjoy the taste of the vegetables -- which I think actually intensifies as the pot sits in the fridge.
For my rutabaga vegetable soup, I used:
  • 1 small rutabaga (peeled, chopped)
  • 3 russet potatoes (scrubbed, chopped)
  • 5 medium carrots (peeled, sliced)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with herbs and spices
  • 1 cup uncooked lentils
  • 1 cup uncooked pasta
  • 1 litre of water
I started by washing the lentils and putting them in a small pot, covered by about an inch of water. I brought them to a boil, then reduced the heat to let them simmer, stirring periodically, until all of the water had been absorbed and the lentils had softened.
Meanwhile, I heated a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot and fried the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes.
I added 1 litre of water and the chopped rutabaga, potatoes, and carrots. I added the pasta a little bit later (so as not to overcook it). I kept the pot simmering until the vegetables had softened.
Finally I added in the canned tomatoes and cooked lentils. I brought the soup to a boil, then turned off the stove.

The result was a hearty soup -- so full of vegetables it resembled a stew. A pot this size gets me through the week and it's nice to come home to a warm dinner on these chilly days. I can't stress enough how simple it is to make! The only real work in this recipe is chopping the vegetables -- from there on out it's mostly sit around and wait.
So three rutabaga recipes later, I think my favourite use for the turnip is actually as a soup ingredient. Its strong taste seems to be mellowed by the boiling, but still is prominent enough to stand out in the mix of vegetables and contribute its unique flavour and texture. I often make this soup without rutabaga, instead adding additional potatoes or carrots (or whatever vegetable I have on hand), but if you happen to have a rutabaga around it's worthwhile trying it this way!

What are your favourite soups to make?

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