Seeing the leaves changing colour puts a little pep in my step. Not only is it my favourite season of the year, I find it much easier to consistently cook local, from scratch meals during the fall and winter.
I think part of the problem is that I need to up my salad game, start using more inspired ingredients.
Soups though, those I am freaking amazing at. They practically make themselves. Local veggies have so much flavour, they easily make a fantastic soup.
The Four Things You Need
Carrots, Celery and Onions are the triad that form the base flavour for all french cooking. The usual ratio is equal amounts celery and carrots and twice as many onions. A lot of times garlic is added as well.
Try anything you can find locally. You can even change the ratios of the mirepoix to make onion, carrot, or celery soup.
These change depending on what flavour you are going for. Most soups are best with the addition of a single herb. Thyme, Parsley, Basil and Cilantro will serve you well. Spices aren’t as commonly used in soups, unless you are going for an ethnic flavour (like I did with my Carrot Soup). Cinnamon and Ginger would be useful to keep on hand.
I’ll include bay leaf, salt and pepper in this group. Partially because they do the same thing (add/develop flavour) and partially because I’m too lazy to give them their own group.
This serves as the liquid to cook the veggies in and adds body to the end result. Home made is great, and pretty easy to make. Store bought will do fine as well.
Milk or cream will add richness. Sour cream, greek yogurt, and grated cheese help develop a more complex flavour.
How to Combine Them
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Mirepoix, Broccoli, Bay Leaf, Salt and Pepper, Stock, Milk and Grated Old Cheddar Cheese.
Parsnip and Apple Soup
Mirepoix, Granny Smith Apple, Parsnip, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Salt and Pepper, Stock, Milk and Grated Gouda.
Carrot Ginger Soup
Mirepoix (with equal amounts celery and onions and twice as many carrots), Cumin, Curry, Cinnamon, Ginger, Bay Leaf, Salt and Pepper, Stock, Milk and Sour Cream.
Leek and Potato Soup
Mirepoix (only celery and onions, the orange in the carrot would muddy the colour of the soup), Leeks, Peeled Potatoes, Bay Leaf, Salt and Pepper, Stock, Milk and Sour Cream. Can finish with a bit of chopped spring onions for colour.
Roasted Zucchini Soup
Mirepoix, Zucchini (roast in the oven to help develop flavour), Bay Leaf, Salt and Pepper, Stock, Milk and Grated Parmesan.
What to do With Them
Chop and Sautee
Cut up your mirepoix and veggie. Grate your cheese.
Heat up your pot with a bit of olive oil. Sautee the mirepoix and veggie for about 5 minutes.
Add your bay leaf, spices, herbs and stock. Make sure the veggies are completely covered. Top off with more water/stock if needed. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer until the veggies are soft.
Remove bay leaf. Puree using an immersion blender, food processor or blender. At this point if you have a young baby who isn’t eating solids yet you can set some aside as baby food (great way to introduce spices/herbs).
Put the pureed soup back into the pot. Add milk to bring it to a consistency you like. Add sour cream and cheese if using and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
That’s all you need to know to turn any veggie into a quick soup. I usually make large batches and freeze them in mason jars. My husband grabs some to take to work and I’ll pull some out for lunches at home. Soups are a quick veggie filled, tasty meal during the cooler months. Now I just need to find the summer equivalent.