It occurred to me recently that I don’t eat enough vegetables. That may sound strange coming from a vegetarian, but there it is. I decided to remedy that by making a vegetable soup to end all vegetable soups. No recipe, just everything in it that seemed like it would be good, particularly in-season root vegetables.
First let me say that around here we make vegetable stock; no Swanson’s here, we do it from scratch and you should, too. It’s so easy, and it’s virtually free, since it’s made from the portions we usually would throw away, i.e. onion tops and skins, pieces of celery getting older, a few carrot pieces, etc. We throw these in a zip-top bag in the freezer and save them until we have a fair amount. Then we put them in a pot, cover with water and simmer for an hour and a half, strain and you have the best vegetable stock ever. You will also have the best-smelling home ever! Use it up in 2-3 days or freeze it to use later.
You should also have dried beans on hand; any kind will do (I mixed kidney beans, pinto beans, red beans, chickpeas, white beans). Soak about a cup of them for about 3-4 hours and drain. Throw these in a large pot. Add enough water to cover well and simmer for an hour and a half. Drain and then put back in the pot. Add the vegetable stock you made, a can of diced tomatoes and whatever fresh vegetables you have around, chopped coarsely. I used a turnip, a parsnip, an onion, three very small potatoes, two carrots, and three leaves of purple kale, torn into pieces. Add salt to taste and whatever herbs you like–I added fresh oregano and dill and some dried basil. Simmer all this for about 25-30 minutes and you will have quite the pot of soup!
You can vary this any way you want, but keep the stock and tomatoes constant; I think it would have turned out well, though, no matter what vegetables I used. Serve it as is or throw in some cooked pasta. Add a salad and some good bread and you have a feast. A friend who partook of it said, “Wow, you hit a home run with this soup!” Hence the name–“Home Run Soup.”
My daughter and I were discussing recently how many people say they can’t afford to eat well. She said, “It’s not expensive to eat healthily, you just have to put in a little time in the kitchen.” Actual at-the-stove time was about 5-6 minutes. And the cost of this large pot of soup? About $2.00.