Friday, September 23, 2011

soup!

All of a sudden it is fall.  If you live in Maine, you start to feel it in August I think, maybe it is all of New England.  But this past week it was a shock to my system.  Waking up when it is only 40 degrees out does that I guess!  I figured that it was time to start on my soup craze.

Soup is one of our staples during the winter.  It seems like I make soup every week and we have it for days.  Maybe I should work on variety...or maybe freeze some so we don't eat it for a week straight.  Although, I have to think about the many people in this world that don't have many options as far as food goes - or anything for that matter - and eat beans or rice pretty much every day without variation.

I make my own vegetable stock, and chicken stock.  I always tried to make chicken stock whenever I roasted a chicken, but since we are eating a lot less meat these days, and veggie stock seems to be used in more than soups, I started making my own.  Probably the easiest thing that I can do, with the least amount of effort.  All I do is take 6-8 carrots, a few onions, a bunch of garlic - literally I will use an entire bulb - and celery if I have it on hand.  Chop it up, throw it in a big pot with olive oil.  Saute for a few minutes, and then pour in a lot of water.  I think I usually do 12-16 cups.  Probably I use too much water, but you know what?  It is cheap, and I find that a little veg goes a long way.  I add some salt and pepper, and then just let it simmer for a couple hours on the stove.  It ends up reducing by a third maybe.

At this point, most people tell you to strain out the veg and then just use the liquid, but I just use my hand blender and blend it all up.  Apparently you have already sucked all the vitamins out  at this point, but I think it gives a little texture, and am too lazy to strain it out :-)  My daughter will eat this for days if I let her.  But, I try to add some potatoes and other veggies, a jar of crushed tomatoes and you have an amazing veggie soup.  Add some beans, and there is a good bit of protein.

This past weekend I made a lot of veggie stock.  I was planning on just freezing half of it, but for whatever reason I didn't.  I decided to make a roasted squash and apple soup.  I roasted a couple delicata squash and several apples that I had cored at 400 until I went to check on them and realized the apples had all exploded into mush (maybe 20 minutes???).  I then added it all sans skins to my HUGE pot of veggie stock.  I knew that I had way too much stock at that point, but I tried to make the best of it.  I blended the whole thing up, made some brown rice, and then pretended that the soup was curry and just served it over the rice.  Add some red pepper flakes, and it ended up being amazing, and not at all what I was expecting.  Also, a pretty damn good way to stretch 5 carrots, 3 small onions, 2 delicata squash, and 4 smallish macs :-)  Now I have 2 quarts of this soup in the freezer and enough to last us 3-4 meals this week.  Amazing what a few root veggies and water will do :-)

What about you?  Do you like to make soup?  And do you make your own stock, or buy from the grocery store?

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