It’s kind of cold here at the moment. Never made it out of the 30s today and they are using “teens” to describe tonight. (I know for some people, this is not actually cold. But I practically live in Mexico…therefore, it is cold.)
Around 10:30 this morning I started throwing vegetables into a pot. I was delighted my almost-four-year-old was anxious to help because I always hope that means he will eat it. Sometimes it does.
Initially, I wanted some potato soup. I had some sweet potatoes from my in-laws’ garden I wanted to use and it just sounded like warm comfort in a bowl… and then somehow the peppers and carrots and onions found their way in as well. If I’d had any leeks, I would have put them in. I managed to keep the mushrooms out.
Everything got steamed/boiled in about an inch or two of water for 15 minutes or so. And then I mashed it all up with one of my favorite kitchen tools ever and added some chicken stock. Taste. Salt. Pepper. Taste. Nutmeg. Fresh thyme. More stock. More mashing. Taste. A little bit of cream. Simmer. Yum.
It was a perfect lunch for an unseasonably cold Texas day. And, no, despite all of his excited help with the preparation, when offered a bowl my son wrinkled up his nose and said, “I don’t like potatoes, mommy. Yuck.” I will, of course, keep trying.
One more thing.
I made a resolution for 2010 about writing down more recipes. This was primarily due to my husband’s request in his constant campaign to battle my culinary ADD. But, guess what? I did it! I actually wrote down what I did. Tonight at dinner when he took his first bite of soup and said, “Wow, this is good soup. Where did it come from?” I said, “I made it this morning to have for lunch.” He said, “Oh. So I better enjoy it ‘cuz I’ll never see it again?” I giddily handed over my chicken-scratch notes about how this soup came to be. He was shocked…and pleased.
So here it is. But you should think of this as your “Clean Out The Produce Drawer Soup Recipe.” If you need to use it and you like it – throw it in.
Clean Out the Produce Drawer Soup
2-3 white potatoes, peeled and diced
1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
handful baby carrots
2 thick slices of red onion
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
Boil/steam vegetables in 1-2 inches of water (they should not be covered with water) for 15-20 minutes (until fork tender.) Drain off most of the water. Replace with chicken stock (about a cup to start.) *You could also just start with chicken or vegetable stock instead of water and avoid that “draining off” step. Mash vegetables with broth and add more stock if needed (up to another cup.) If you like your soup really smooth and velvety with no chunks – transfer to blender at this point and puree.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add nutmeg and 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme. Bring soup to a very low simmer just to bring all the flavors together. Add about 1/2 cup heavy cream (or milk if that’s how you roll.) Simmer slowly for at least 10-15 minutes. Finish with freshly grated parmesan and/or croutons.
This will freeze well, too. So, if you like it, make a vat of it and keep it on hand for those days when the temperature drops just a little too far.