Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vegetable Soup

The weather is definitely turning, the mornings are crisper and there is that cold chill that rides on the tail end of the breeze. The farmers markets are abundant with the late summer harvest, crispy green apples, juicy nectarines, fuzzy peaches, assorted varieties of squash, zucchini's and every potato imaginable. Even hazelnuts have appeared, a sign that Autumn is on its way. Our meals also show signs of Autumn. A chicken casserole with fresh sweet carrots was enjoyed last week, apple pies were made and ginger snap cookies were just what the doctor ordered. A nice spicy warming cookie enjoyed with the perfectly brewed tea. Oh I love it when a season changes.

Soup is a great way to welcome in Autumn and use up those remaining vegetables that sit in the bottom of the fridge. I always find that I have a few veggies left over that don't quite make up a meal but I hate the idea of wasting them. What I tend to do is freeze any left over veggies so that I can make a nice hearty vegetable soup. Something that I have been craving for a couple of days.

I had collected a good selection of veggies so I knew my soup would be satisfying and nutritious. Vegetable soup always reminds me of when I worked as a kitchen assistant in a residential home. Every Sunday we would serve a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings, carrots, brussel sprouts, swede (rutabaga) and roast potatoes. After serving, my job would be to make stock with the remaining chicken carcasses. Into the pan went the carcasses with a large onion a couple of carrots and a leak or celery, salt and pepper and a collection of herbs. This simmered away in water for a couple of hours whilst the residents enjoyed there lunch. This was then strained and any left over veg was added to the stock, simmered for a short while and blitzed to make a thick soup. It always tasted soooo good especially alongside fresh bread lathered with thick butter. Happy Days!!!! 

Today I wanted to revisit those happy days, so to go alongside my soup I made some fresh country bread. It was perfect and made for a lovely supper.

Vegetable Soup
1 Large Russet Potato Diced
1 Large Red Onion Diced
1/2 Roasted Butternut Squash Diced
1 Ear of Corn (kernels cut from corn)
2 Carrots sliced
1/2 Green zucchini diced
1 Head of Broccoli Florets
Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
3 Cups Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

In a large stock pot over a medium heat add some oil and soften the onion, potato, zucchini and carrots. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and simmer with the lid on for 5 minutes. The potatoes, squash and tomatoes will begin to break down. Add the chicken stock and simmer gently for 20- 25 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Blitz the soup in batches and return back to the pan. Add a good swig of olive oil and salt and pepper for seasoning. (Season to your taste). If you find the soup is too thick add some more water. Serve in large bowls with hunks of fresh bread and butter.

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