Monday, January 23, 2012

Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Vegetable Soup

I typically have trouble straying from recipes. Drew and I plan all of our meals for the week on Sunday and shop for the required ingredients, so I rarely have to stand in the kitchen trying to figure out what to pair together. It's not that I don't want to experiment in the kitchen, I'm just not very confident that what I will put together will be all that tasty. As a devout recipe-follower, I am usually pretty disappointed when things don't turn out right. I know mistakes have to be made to learn and grow in just about any situation, but I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I normally stick to recipes. Tossing in a few extra spices is about as adventurous as I get.  

But yesterday, I threw caution to the wind and made a huge pot of vegetable soup sans recipe. I know vegetable soup is probably the easiest thing ever to make, but it felt liberating to pick ingredients out of the cabinets and fridge and spices off the rack without a guide telling me precisely what I needed.

Drew is busy with a show opening, so I wanted a whole lot of something available for quick meals since I know he will only get a short dinner break before having to run back to the theatre most days this week. Veggie soup seemed like the perfect solution for these rainy, cold days we've been having lately.

So, I must admit, I scanned a few recipes for some inspiration, but when it came down to it, I shut my laptop and started dumping things into the pot. This soup is thick, hearty and chunky - a big bowl of warm comfort food. It was also a great way to clean out a couple of pantry ingredients that have been hanging out in there forever. Sorry that my measurements aren't terribly precise. I tried to "eyeball" ingredient amounts and then just added spices to taste.

Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Vegetable Soup
Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 giant cloves of garlic, minced
Half head of cabbage, chopped
1 32 oz. carton of vegetable broth
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup of water
1/3 cup dried green split peas, rinsed
1/4 cup pearled barley, rinsed
1 bag of Italian style frozen veggies

To taste:
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
White Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Garlic Powder
Celery Salt
a few dashes Tabasco hot sauce
Juice of 1 lemon

Heat a little olive oil mixed with water (about a half tbsp. oil plus a full tbsp. water) in a soup pot on medium heat

Toss onion, carrots, garlic and a little salt into soup pot and sauté/sweat the veggies until onions start to become translucent

This little gadget is a garlic zoom! If you don't have one, you should get one. They are awesome. We use it nearly everyday. You just toss in the garlic cloves and roll until they are minced!

Toss half a cabbage head in and add a little more water to help steam/soften the cabbage

Sprinkle in spices to taste (except for tabasco sauce & lemon) and stir to coat veggies with spices

Add the carton of veggie broth, cans of tomatoes, tomato paste/water mixture and tabasco sauce and turn heat up to medium high

Taste broth and add additional spices if necessary

Place lid on pot, tilted a little to allow for steam and let soup get bubbly

Once soup is bubbling, toss in split peas and barley and reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes

After 20 minutes, stir and check split peas and barley for tenderness. I tacked on an additional 10 minutes of simmer time to allow the peas to soften more, but the barley actually had a pretty good texture at this point.

Once you have achieved desired tenderness of the peas and barley, stir in the bag of frozen veggies and lemon juice and simmer for 6-8 more minutes....

Enjoy soup with a slice of Ezekiel bread slathered with Earth Balance! Mmm mmm goooood.


Heather Iacobacci-Miller said...

I need to plan out the meals better so we don't stand around debating what to have LOL. The soup looks great - definitely very satisfying. Love those Italian mixed veggies. Oh, and found that Target brand's mixed stir fry veggies are sooooo much better than Kroger's.

Bianca said...

Yum! That looks like some awesome soup, Sheridan! I do think it's kinda adorable how you stick to recipes though!! Unless you're baking, you really can't mess anything up by going a little rogue. :-P

WendyMemphis said...

YUM! I love cabbage in veg soup and yours looks AMAZING!