Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup

loaded vegetable soup 300x225 Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup
Oh yeah, it's totally soup season by me. The snow is coming down hard outside my window right now, but at least I have a hearty bowl of soup waiting for me in my fridge! Over the weekend, my friend decided he was in the mood for a hearty bowl of soup. I didn't have much in my kitchen at the time, but sometimes good soup recipes are born out of necessity. Normally, I try to avoid canned goods in my cooking. However, it seemed to make sense with this vegetable soup as it added to the recipe's "hankering down for winter" aura


Serves: 6

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
  • 4-5 cups water, broth or stock (I like thick soups, but you can always add more water to thin out the soup)
  • 3 potatoes, cubed with the skins on
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 3 onions, diced
  • 1/2 pound dark leafy greens, chopped finely (I used turnip greens but kale or any other dark leafy green would work well here)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cans condensed tomato soup
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 20 dill pickle slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • Spices of your choice (I used rosemary, thyme, cumin, paprika, red chili flakes and black pepper)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, start boiling your water. Once the water starts boiling, turn down the stove top temperature until the water is simmering and add the brown rice, lentils and potatoes.
  2. After about 10 to 15 minutes, add the greens and carrots and stir.
  3. Once the greens and carrots have been in for about 5 to 10 minutes, add the condensed soup, artichoke hearts and pickle slices and stir to combine.
  4. Once the brown rice, lentils and potatoes are almost done, add the garlic and the spices of your choice.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
So I admit that this is a far cry for most conventional vegetable soup recipes. Frankly, I'm okay with that. I find it very satisfying when I can use all sorts of different things that I have lying around to make something delicious. However, I do feel a need to explain some of my ingredient choices. Recently, I was gifted with a number of canned food items. While I generally avoid canned foods, I'm a sucker for free food. For future vegetable soup recipes, I think I will go with crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce over the condensed soup. I kept the artichoke heart pieces pretty big, which made them the main meat alternative of the soup in terms of texture.
But I think the main ingredient question you might be asking is why I added pickles. I know it's a bit of a left field ingredient choice, but it added great flavor and texture to the final soup. The vinegar from the pickles gave the soup recipe a nice tartness, which I think helped embolden the other flavors. I didn't add any salt to this dish because the pickle slices contributed enough for 
my tastes.

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