Soup is good food

January 11th, 2011

By Jenn Hwang, Contributing Writer

It’s week 2—how did everyone’s first week go?  After a couple days of not eating quite enough, I managed to get into a good groove towards the end of the week.  So I woke up today feeling pretty good.  Hope you’re all feeling good, too!

It’s been really cold lately, and they say it’s going to rain this week.  A perfect time for soup!  To make soup, it helps to start with a good veggie broth. Of course, you can buy veggie broth, but it’s simple enough to make your own and then use it as a base for all sorts of soups and sauces.  There are a lot of variations, but here’s my version for a simple, all-purpose veggie broth.

Veggie Broth

10 cups cold water

2 medium leeks (use only the white and light green parts)

3 medium carrots or 2 large carrots

3 stalks of celery

1 onion

3-4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme

½  sprig of fresh rosemary

1 bay leaf


Chop leeks, carrots, celery and onion into chunks. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté vegetables and garlic over medium-high heat until onions and leeks soften – about 10 minutes or so.  Add 10 cups of water, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.  Add 3 big pinches of salt (don’t overdo it, you can always add more).  Bring to a boil then lower heat and let simmer uncovered.  After 30 minutes, give it a stir and taste it. Add more salt at this point if you want, but this is meant to be used as a base for other things so it’s better for it to be undersalted than oversalted. Simmer for another 15-30 minutes depending on how flavorful the broth already is after you taste it. Strain broth. You should have about 5-6 cups, give or take a cup. You can refrigerate the broth for a few days or freeze the extra to use later.

Now that you have veggie broth, make soup!  Some ideas:

Cauliflower soup: Add 3 cups of cauliflower cut into 1-inch pieces and a cube of pecorino romano or parmesan cheese to 2 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until cauliflower is tender (about 20 minutes). Puree the soup until smooth (in a blender or with a hand blender). Return to pot and add some cream for a richer soup or more broth if you need to thin out the soup.  Add a dash of truffle oil if you have it, and enjoy.

Vegetable soup: Sauté diced carrots, zucchini, onions, garlic, potatoes in a pan until onions soften.  Add broth (as much as you need), a can of diced tomatoes with their juice, chopped chard, some herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc.), salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until vegetables are tender.  Add frozen peas and ½ can of cannellini beans (rinse before adding).  Heat through, sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired and serve.

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