Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Soup Made Simple

I love Mark Bittman, the food writer for the New York Times.  Last winter he wrote an article simplifying the soup-making process - specifically for vegetable soups.  To summarize, there are 4 basic vegetable soups; everything else is a variation of one of the four:  Creamy, Brothy (quick-cooking), Earthy (bean soups), or Hearty (sauteed veggie base).

From the Earthy category, I made his basic bean soup, then pureed it in the blender and topped it with chives.  The beans, chives, thyme and bay leaf I used were all grown in my garden last summer and my version of the recipe goes like this:

1 cup dried white pole beans
1/2 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
6 cups of vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
a handful of thyme sprigs
2 Tbsp chopped chives
olive oil
salt and pepper

Saute the onion, carrots and celery in a little bit of olive oil on low to medium heat.  Sprinkle with salt and cover for a few minutes until their juices start to flow.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the chives, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are done.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes, fish out the thyme stems and the bay leaf, and blend the soup in the blender.  Return to the pot, add salt and pepper to taste, and top with chopped chives.  Yummy!

And, here's the recipe for the BROCCOLI-CHEEZ SOUP I made last week:

2 large bunches of broccoli
3 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
8 cups of vegetable stock, or enough to cover the ingredients in the pot
1+ cup nutritional yeast
1+ Tbsp yellow mustard (regular mustard, not dried)
olive oil
salt and cayenne pepper

Sautee the carrots, celery and onion in a large pot, with salt, until soft.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until broccoli and carrots are cooked through.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes, blend in the blender and return to pot.  Season to taste.


  1. This was a good soup. I credit Patsy for making us think of it. I have been making variations of it since I've been back in Portland. I don't put nutritional yeast in it, but sprinkle it on top when the mood strikes. Sometimes it's great, other times, it's just okay. I made it with a few handfuls of spinach recently, and it was too earthy.

  2. I meant the broccoli soup; I haven't tried the other one.