Tag: quick

Snow Day Salvage Soup

Snow Day Salvage Soup

The snow is still on the ground today and I’m still looking for ways to utilize my refrigerator salvage. I made a delightfully creamy Potato Leek Soup yesterday in honor of a rare snow day that just happened to come along during a planned refrigerator purge. And while that batch of soup will last me a while, I still have expiring ingredients to dispatch. So, to quote Shakespeare, “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, …”

Today’s soup is my version of “stone soup” without the stone. It combines another collection from yesterday’s clear-out, along with a few things from my overstocked pantry. Like the Potato Leek Soup, this one can be adapted very easily to be vegan. Just substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and voila! 100% plant-based! I’d have gone vegan with it myself, but I still have chicken “jelly” so … it’s got to be used!

The cast of characters – not your usual suspects. Some of these, I have to wonder what I was thinking when I brought them home from the store, which probably explains why they were still in the refrigerator!

From the fridge – the produce:

Carrots, turnip, fennel, celery, and mini sweet peppers

From the fridge – leftovers:

Homemade chicken stock (aka jelly), red bell peppers, onions

Excess from the pantry that needs to be used:

Onion, garlic, Canellini beans

I also used some extra water and a cup of dehydrated vegetables that I bought from Amazon, just to see what they were.

FYI, they’re small bits of dehydrated vegetables with no seasonings whatsoever.

These vegetables brought on another “what was I thinking” moment. I don’t remember why I thought I had any use for them apart from just wondering what they were and how they’d cook up. My pantry is overflowing with “Gee, I wonder what this is/does/tastes like” items. Fortunately, I have since discovered several uses for them. I’ll share those observations in a blog post some time soon.

The process on compiling this soup is super simple.

Dice peppers, celery, fennel.
Mince the garlic.

I was determined to use my Valentine Le Creuset cocotte yesterday, and it got a bit crowded. It was worth the inconvenience, though. That pot is just so darned cute. Today, I’ll use the BIG PURPLE POT.

Use an appropriately-sized pot to avoid overflow!

Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to the pot or, if you prefer not to use oil, broth will tenderize the foundation vegetables just fine.

Heat the oil until it begins shimmering in the pan. Add the vegetables.

Toss the vegetables into the pot with the garlic and add a little salt and pepper.
Cook til tender.

Dice the carrots and turnips.

Can’t live without this gadget! I’m not a fan of prepping.
My Genius Dicer and my Vidalia Chop Wizard are like having a sous chef!

Add the vegetables to the pot. Stir in the broth.

If you’re adding chicken jelly as I am, you’ll need some extra water.

Add your herbs – whatever you’re in the mood for – and season to taste. I used a blend of Herbs de Provence, which is one of my favorites for this type of vegetable soup. Bring to boil (BTB), reduce to simmer (RTS), and wait for the carrots and turnip to tenderize, and for the flavor to develop, about 20 minutes.

Add the beans near the end of the cook time, and give it another 10 minutes.

If you need more flavor, try a tablespoon of this:

A great cure-all if your soup needs extra flavor.
It’s in the same part of the store as the bouillon cubes.

For this recipe, here’s the full list and quantity of the ingredients I used. You can add whatever you have in your fridge. If you have stock, vegetables, and seasonings, it will come out just fine.

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 carrots, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium turnip, diced
  • 1 small bulb fennel, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion, diced (I used a medium onion and some leftover onion bits)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (I used 2 mini sweet red peppers and about 1/2 of a leftover red bell pepper)
  • 2-3 stalks of celery (about 2/3 cup) ( I used small stalks)
  • 4 cups chicken stock (I used 2 c. chicken jelly and 2 c. water)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dehydrated vegetables (this is not essential – if you don’t have any, leave it out but if you do add it, you’ll need another 1-2 cups water)
  • Canellini beans – 1 can
  • 1 Tbsp. Better than Bouillon (veg or chicken flavor)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp. herbs de Provence

Heat oil in pan. Saute’ onion, garlic, pepper, celery and fennel til tender. Add carrots and turnip and saute’ for 5 minutes. Add broth, water, salt, pepper, herbs, and dehydrated vegetables. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Add beans and check the seasoning. Add more seasonings/herbs if needed. Give it another 10 minutes or so. Serve. Makes 8-10 servings.

This is a great soup for lunch or snack. Pair it with some crusty bread, a sandwich on the side, it’s pretty well suited to just about anything you’re in the mood for.

But wait … THERE’S MORE!

This soup, as well as the Potato Leek soup from yesterday, multi-purpose. What??? Both of these soups are easily repurposed to create sauces you can use in other recipes! Stop in tomorrow to learn more!

Snow Day in OK Today: Potato Leek Soup

Warm creamy deliciousness!

We don’t get many snow days around where I live in Oklahoma. About once every 5 or 10 years we might get more than one or two. Some years, we get none at all. Oklahoma’s weather is nothing if not unpredictable, so it’s always a nice surprise when the forecast is on point and that first, perfect snowfall arrives to coat the ground with several inches of white.

Lucky for me, today’s the day! It also happens to be the day before trash day and that means cleaning out the fridge. Once a week, my kitchen becomes the poster child for “Chopped.”

It’s soup day, naturally. What’s better than hot soup on a cold day? It’s also a “two-fer.” I’ll use ingredients that probably won’t make it another week and save money in the bargain.

The items up for consideration: potatoes, one leek, heavy cream, homemade chicken stock (jelly), and a clamshell of fresh thyme that is on the brink of being not-so-fresh. Add in a few staples (butter, garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper) and, according to my Magic 8 Ball, the outlook is good for a lunch of Potato Leek Soup!

The Magic 8 Ball knows all!

I don’t usually follow a strict recipe for soups that I make on the fly, but I did write down what I used. Here’s the recipe:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (if you want to make this vegan, use oil or marg)

1 large leek, white & light green parts, well rinsed, chopped (about 2 cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds peeled potatoes, diced about 1″

3 cups chicken broth (vegetable for vegan/vegetarians)

1 or 2 springs of fresh thyme (if you like more, use more; if you don’t have fresh, then use 1 tsp. dried)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 cup heavy cream

Fresh parsley or chopped chives for garnish

So that’s what I used, and here’s what I did:

Melt the butter in a 3 qt. soup pot
Add the leeks and the garlic
Saute’ over medium heat until tender
Add broth, or in my case, chicken “jelly”
Add potatoes, thyme, bay leaves, salt & pepper
Bring to boil (BTB), reduce to simmer (RTS)
Cover and cook til potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes
Tender taters
Remove thyme and bay leaves
Put at least half in a blender with extra liquid if needed
If you use a Vitamix, be safe and use variable speed 1 and bring the speed up gradually.
You can also use an immersion blender (stick blender) right in the cook pot.
Blend until smooth, add cream if desired, and stir into the remaining soup in the pot.

This is a very quick recipe to create and it makes about 8 large servings. If you want to make it vegan, it’s super simple to convert. Just leave out the cream, use plant-based “butter,” a butter-flavored olive oil, or just regular olive oil. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken, and substitute coconut milk or coconut cream for the heavy cream.

Feel free to add more of your favorite herbs and seasonings. If you like more thyme (like I do), then add a couple more sprigs. Oregano is a good substitute for the thyme if you’re in the mood for something with a bit more of an Italian flair. Or just leave it as-is, add a rosemary focaccia on the side and imagine you’re at a quaint little bistro in France.