So if you have been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I don't often completely devise my own recipes. I may add or delete an ingredient or two from a recipe I find, but that's about it. I feel like I am still in the process of learning how to cook, so I don't always feel comfortable completely coming up with my own stuff. When I do, it's often a disaster. However, I got a bit lucky with this recipe...
A few weeks ago, I really, really wanted some vegetable soup - the kind of vegetable soup your mom might make for you when you're sick. But I wasn't sick. I just wanted a big bowl of summer freshness. So I wrote down a list of vegetables and herbs I liked, then headed to the farmers market to pick them up- and this is the soup I came up with. I might have done a happy dance in my kitchen the first time I tasted it. :) I was so excited that I got this right! This soup is a big bowl of summer. It's fresh, hearty, so good for you, and so easy to make. There is a bit of prep work, though, but it's worth it and sort of necessary for this soup. Exercising"mise en place" makes the prep process easier. "Mise en place" is the French term for "putting in place." Make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped and in place before turning on the pot - sort of like they do on cooking shows. Anyway, I love brown rice, so I added it to the soup for more depth and volume. It was perfect - so perfect that I've made it twice in the last month. :)
Here is what you need and what to do: (Makes 6-8 servings):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large or 2 medium sized zucchini, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel tomatoes (for spice)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
3 cups kale, thinly chopped
4 cups (1 box) vegetable stock
Cooked brown rice (this is my recipe)
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Add the olive oil to a large dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions along with a pinch of salt and saute them until translucent - about 3 minutes.
2. Add the celery, carrots and zucchini, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pot and cook for about 8 minutes or until they are slightly softened. Then add the garlic saute for about a minute.
3. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley, basil, thyme and vegetable stock to the pot and give it a gentle stir to combine all of the ingredients. Add the kale in a few batches. It will wilt pretty fast! If the vegetables aren't completely covered once you add the last batch of kale, add just enough water until they are covered.
4. Bring the soup up to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer the soup for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender. The carrots are my way of knowing when the soup is ready! :) Taste for seasonings and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
5. Add a serving of cooked rice into an individual serving bowl. Ladle the soup on top of the rice and stir everything together.
A few notes:
* Chop the vegetables about the same size. That way, they will cook evenly.
* If you add the rice to the big pot of soup, the rice might become too soggy. So I like to add it to my serving bowls...
* This soup freezes REALLY well. To freeze it, let the soup cool, then add it to a freezer safe container.
Images by me