By Madison Jackson
Whether you spend your days working from home or out and about, these long winter months are hard on us all. What could be more comforting than a warm bowl of soup full of fresh and nourishing ingredients after a long day? Soups are generally healthful with benefits including high nutritional value and low fat. They are also easy to prepare, inexpensive, and delicious!
January is National Soup Month, so we encourage you to put together a simple soup by stocking up on vegetables, meats, and herbs at Saturdays’ farmers’ market. You will be all set to enjoy a satisfying meal on Sunday or a busy weeknight when you are low on time. Soups are easy to customize to your liking; make a simple soup a bit heartier with some noodles, beans, or rice. Or if you’re looking for something light, you can keep it basic with broth and vegetables. Just follow this introductory method and tailor it to your preferences and available ingredients.
Start with stock – preferably homemade, by simmering chicken or beef leftovers in water, or utilize vegetable parts like onion skins, root vegetables, and herbs. A good quality stock can make a good soup great! Then choose your aromatics such as carrots, celery, onion, garlic, leek, etc. For a little smokiness, add an item like a hambone or bacon. Saute your aromatics in a big stockpot with oil or butter until softened, then stir in herbs and spices to enhance the flavor. Bay leaves and thyme rarely goes wrong.
Add a carb if desired, like vermicelli or potatoes. And then, lots of vegetables to add nutrition and bulk to your soup. Seasonal vegetables to consider are kale, chard, and mushrooms. Add the stock and let simmer until ingredients are tender. You can optionally puree your soup after simmering for a silky smooth finish. Finally, add any extra meats, garnishes, and flavorings (like cream, lemon juice, or even hot sauce) for added fullness and flavor.
We’re sharing a recipe aptly called “Whatever Soup”, because it lets you use whatever you have in your pantry. It features produce from Gomez Veggie Ville’s “soup bags,” which you can pick up every Saturday at the farmers’ market. If you pick up a soup bag from the market, you’ll have several options, including carrots, onions, beets, potatoes, turnips, and cabbage.
This week’s recipe: Whatever Soup