Friday, April 16, 2010

Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Soup

I love cleaning out my pantry. Since I’m vertically challenged and my pantry extends about 2 feet over my head, I tend to forget about the extra cans of beans, tomatoes and corn I set aside months earlier. And with a pending move to Peru on the horizon, it was time to take a look at what was hiding up there.

That also goes for the fridge and freezer. If, like me, you don’t use the entire bag of spinach or carton of mushrooms in one sitting, chances are they could go bad before you have a chance to finish them off. Well, this recipe (like most of my recipes) uses everything but the kitchen sink. And you could probably throw that in, too.

So, improvise. Use what you have to make this soup fabulous. You’ll need a few base ingredients to make this soup great, but then feel free to go willy nilly.

Ingredients (the ones you really need)
2 15-oz. cans organic diced tomatoes
1 Tbl tomato paste
4 cups stock (chicken, vegetable or beef)
1 rind of Parmigiano Reggiano
1 medium onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbl olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

You could pretty much stop here and just use the ingredients above. But if you’ve got extra stuff lying around, throw it in!

Ingredients (the ones I had in my fridge/freezer/pantry that you can improvise)
5 leaves Swiss chard, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 small head broccoli, chopped
1 pound lean organic ground beef
½ cup pearl barley
1 15-oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed
1 15-oz. can corn, rinsed
1 Tbl herbs de Provence

Here’s what you do:
In a large stock pot on medium-high heat, add oil, onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Sauté for 7-8 minutes or until soft. Add ground meat, salt and pepper and cook until meat is 75% cooked. Add tomato paste and stir until blended throughout. Add mushrooms, beans, corn and tomatoes. Add stock, herbs de Provence, chard, broccoli and barley. Add Parmigiano rind. Turn heat up to high, bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until barley is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Keep the cheese rind in the pot until every last drop of soup is eaten!

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