Soup - it's the easiest way to warm up your kitchen on a cold day, and to feed yourself and your family in one delicious and healthy bowl. We realized this weekend that some of our favorite vegan and vegetarian soup recipes tend to follow a pattern that can be easily adapted for any vegetable.
Here's what you need: vegetables, butter or olive oil, salt and pepper, and some stock and wine. That's it. Read on for a method to make easy soup out of almost anything.
1. Nearly any vegetable will do - sweet potato, zucchini, squash, turnip, tomato, celery, mushrooms, onions, or leeks. Cut about a pound of vegetables into a medium dice - about an inch across - or smaller if you're using a dense vegetable, like potato.
2. Sauté the vegetables in a little olive oil or butter, keeping the heat to low and letting the veggie really cook and develop flavor. When not using an aromatic vegetable like leeks, we like to add some onion or garlic as well to develop the flavor.
3. After the vegetables have softened and developed some fragrance and flavor, add about 4 cups of stock and a little wine, cover and simmer. (Even water will do, in a pinch!)
4. Simmer for about an hour or until all the vegetables are soft. Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. Voilà! You have creamy, easy vegetable soup.
More ideas: Dump in that last handful of pasta you need to use up. Add a few crumbles of ground turkey or beef. Lay cooked strips of chicken breast on top of each bowl. You can also add a little bacon for flavor near the beginning, or you can leave the chunks of vegetables whole. Put in a cup of rice and simmer until done. Use up whatever you have around, but remember that you can still make a very good soup with just a pound or two of leftover vegetables.
Edited from post originally published on November 12, 2007