Friday, November 7, 2008

vegetable soup.

Now that Jason and I are making our own chicken stock on a regular basis, it's exciting to start getting into soup season. I can't rave enough about fall weather in Portland. Lots of people complain about it, and I do my fair share when the dreary days seem endless and there are no sunbreaks in sight, but I've lived in the Pacific Northwest my whole life, so when it rains, it just feels like home to me.


I made this batch of soup last night, anticipating houseguests who ended up bypassing Portland to head home to Seattle at the end of their vacation. I can't blame them, since they're newly engaged. (Congratulations, Alexis and Alex!) Hmm, should we go over to Alice and Jason's for dinner and crash on the couch? Or should we drive home and celebrate? I think they made the right decision. We still ended up with enough soup for 5 people, though.

We plan our meals a week in advance in an attempt to keep our grocery budget in check, and we'd written down "minestrone" as the soup we wanted. We do tend to default to chicken soup, so when Jason mentioned it, I was happy to comply. The only thing is that I was too dumb to look at a recipe BEFORE I ran to the store to pick up the ingredients I was missing, so I came home STILL MISSING things. Whoops. I glanced at a couple of minestrone recipes, and realizing I was missing a few key ingredients, I just decided to wing it, as usual.


I knew that texture-wise, I wanted a soup that had uniform-sized chunks of everything, so each bite would have a little of everything in it. Sometimes I like great big hunks of carrot in my soup, but not tonight.

Here's how I made it:

3 small carrots
3 celery stalks
1 medium zucchini
1 large yellow onion
A few cloves of chopped garlic (and I also roasted a whole head of garlic- some of which I added to the soup, some of which I spread on some crusty bread. If you want to do this, start it first.)
1 can of diced tomatoes
A few handfuls of orzo pasta
Chopped green onion for garnish
1/2 a roasted poblano pepper (Throw it on a pan next to your wrapped-up garlic and roast while you prep the rest of the soup.)
6-8 cups of chicken or vegetable broth.
Bay leaf
Salt & Pepper
Some beans, if you have some beans. We made chili on Monday and we had a ridiculous surplus of cooked beans, so I tossed a few handfuls in.

Dice everything to roughly the same size. In a separate pot, heat broth. In your soup pot, saute onions & garlic until translucent. Add the rest of the veggies and saute until they start to soften. Dump in your hot broth and stir. Drop in a bay leaf, add the can of tomatoes, and let simmer. In a separate pot, cook orzo until just done, drain, and add to soup. By now, the poblano should be finished roasting, remove from oven and skin when cooled. Dice and add to soup. When the garlic is done roasting, let it cool, squeeze out a few cloves and smash them up a little before stirring into the soup. Squeeze out the rest, and mix up in a small bowl with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt, to spread on bread.

Salt & pepper to taste, serves 4-5 hungry people or makes lots of leftovers.


All morning I was lamenting that I didn't have a proper thermos to take with me to the park, and then I remembered that my husband bought me a travel mug for mother's day last year. This morning, I heated up some soup, tossed it in my mug, and ran some errands, picking up some basil and spicy sopressata from one of my favorite shops for tonight's pizza, selling some of my books to Powell's, and finally hanging out with my kid at the park, where we sipped warm soup before running around in the soggy grass. And I still have another bowl's worth left in the fridge for later.


Julia @ crazyaboutbretzels said...

looks delicious! I agree with you; fall weather and rainy days make me also feel like home and are a good reason to eat certain things:) just one question: what is orzo pasta? I didn't recognize it from the picture.

karrey said...

Oh man, your soup is making me miss chicken stock.

Alicia Carrier said...

julia, orzo is the pasta that is shaped like rice.

Cheris said...

Oh, that comment about rain feeling like home is so true for me! I grew up in Vancouver (USA)and now I'm in Texas. Evil evil sun.
BTW, I made your butternut squash soup tonight and we all loved it. (Except my 3yr old, but she hates everything)

Jesse said...

I never expected to see poblano in this - sounds great! I always like to add a little spice to almost everything I make, sweet or savory.

Vanessa Clark said...

Wait. You're in Portland...OREGON?!?! I had no idea. I only recently found your blog, and just assumed you were somewhere like San Francisco or New York or somewhere else on the east coast. And now I found out you're somewhere near and dear to me.