L’automne est arrivé! This is my favorite season, time to put on a sweater, sit on the swing and drink a hot cup of chai tea; decorate the porch with blooming mums, indian corn and homegrown pumpkins; buy some yarn; pick up a few good books from the library and switch over from salads and grilled meat to stews and soups. In the winter, we ate soup for dinner almost everyday when was a kid. My mother’s favorite: tomato soup (sometime with rice in it, I thought everybody did it, it turnsout nobody else does it); leek soup, onion soup, garlic soup, and your basic vegetable soup. That’s the first soup I made this fall. The color and consistency changes all the time depending on what you put in it. Potatoes, chicken or vegetable stock and salt or pepper are the base, the rest is whatever has been sitting in your fridge: in my case, some mushy celery (I only used 2 stalks), baby carrots, some garlic and onion and an overgrown zucchini (just the flesh though, when they get so big, the seeds get really hard). I like to use my pressure cooker even when I have time. I love the sound of the steam escaping from the valve, the house smells delicious and homy and it reminds me of my mom’s kitchen. I use an immersion blender, which means I have to transfer the soup to a metal to avoid scratching the bottom. I like to serve this soup with grilled cheese sandwiches but I was out of bread and I try to not go to the store for one ingredient, not that I ever come back with just that one ingredient, I even sometime end up buying a whole bunch of things and forget the one item I went to the store for. Not worth it. We grew more basil that we could possible eat this year again so I made four small jars of pesto. It turns out that a small dollop of pesto in this vegetable soup is absolutely delicious.
The recipe (prep time 15 min; cooking time: 15-20 minutes).
- Sauté the chopped onions in a tablespoon of butter until translucent.
- Add chopped garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add cubed vegetables.
- Cover with chicken stock.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Simmer on the stove for 30 minutes or pressure cook for 20 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the soup.
- Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, pesto and some grated parmesan or asiago.
Note: Get the liquid/solid ratio right. Add enough liquid/broth to cover the vegetables. Too much liquid and the soup will be too thin. You can boil a few potatoes and add them back to thicken it. If the soup is too thick, just add a little broth.