Monday, November 17, 2008

Vegetable Chicken Soup

Brrrr! Well, it's finally getting cold in Florida. Tonight's low is expected to be in the 30s, so what better way to usher in the cold weather than with a steaming pot of home-made soup. This soup can be vegetarian. In fact, I made it vegetarian at first so I could send some to my sister. But then we added chicken for some extra protein.

6 cups vegetarian stock (or chicken stock)
olive oil
parmesean rind*
2 leeks, rinsed and chopped finely
3 tbsp fresh minced garlic
1 small white onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
1 can corn
1 can green beans
1 can peas
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1/2 of baby spinach leaves, sauteed in olive oil (garlic optional)
2 small yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 small zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 small potatoes, chopped
3 small carrots chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Note: frozen/fresh/canned veggies can easily be interchangeable here. Just make sure that any frozen veggies are thawed to room temperature before adding to the soup. Likewise, any fresh veggies should be steamed al dente before adding.

*I keep a baggie of fresh parmesean rinds in my freezer to flavor soups. This is optional and will only enhance the flavor, but is not necessary to have a tasty soup. While the rind is flavorful, you don't want to eat it. Be sure to remove it before serving.

1.Heat olive oil in a large stock pot and sautee the garlic and leeks.

2. Add in onions and celery and cook until softened.

3. In another pot, steam the carrots, potatoes, squash and zucchini until al dente.

4. Add the vegetarian broth/stock to the pot.

5. Add all the canned veggies, the sauteed spinach, and the steamed fresh veggies. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

6. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Add in the parmesean rind and let simmer on low for an hour or so.

At this point, you can serve the soup or you can transfer it to a crock pot to simmer on low overnight. The crock pot will allow the flavors to enhance and let the veggies really cook down.

7. If you want to add chicken, sautee 2-3 chicken breasts in a pan and pull the meat apart with 2 forks when done. Toss into the pot.

This makes a lot of soup. We froze half of it and still got around 8 servings out of the half we ate.

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